VINCENT VAN GOGH IN SW9

“I walk here as much as I can. It’s absolutely beautiful even though it’s in the city."

Vincent van Gogh was brought here by his work for a firm of art dealers when he was twenty. He lived at 87 Hackford Road as a lodger. He worked in Covent Garden and enjoyed weekend walks out to the country, for instance across the fields to admire the paintings in the Dulwich Picture Gallery. He was a good linguist and a keen letter-writer, and we have insights into his life through his letters to his younger brother Theo and others.

“Things are going well for me here, I have a wonderful home and it’s a great pleasure for me to observe London and the English way of life and the English themselves, and I also have nature and art and poetry, and if that isn’t enough,what is?”

Sadly, unrequited love for the landlady's daughter made things difficult, and despite being cheered up by a visit from his sister Anna in 1874, they both had to leave Hackford Road.

Vincent's time in Victorian London - and ongoing exposure to politics, Dickens, Shakespeare, love, disappointment, poetry, and art - all helped shape the painter he became. This formative period in his life is dramatised in the play Vincent in Brixton, written by Nicholas Wright in 2002.

We hope that Van Gogh Walk inspires people to enjoy nature, walking, art, books, good company and interesting ideas - all of which van Gogh enjoyed when he lived here.

Vincent Van Gogh aged 19
Vincent aged 19
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