Blackwall is a locale in East London, located in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and also forms part of the Port of London and the conservation area of Coldharbour.
Blackwall’s name presumably derives from the colour of the river wall, built in the Middle Ages with its stairs. It was known as Blackwall by at least the 14th century.
The area lay in a sheltered loop of the river next to Poplar’s East Marsh, where the East India Docks were constructed at the beginning of the 19th century. More on Blackwall
Edward Henry Fletcher was born in Hammersmith on the 23rd July 1857. He was the son of a Bengal river pilot, and having spent his early years in India, the family returned to England while he was still a boy. He was educated at the Christ’s Hospital and later at the Chelsea School of Art.
After his marriage, Fletcher lived in Blackheath and owned a small Auction House. At about forty, he suffered a serious illness and gave up the business to become a professional painter, having previously painted as a hobby. He also painted under the pseudonym John Hayes, and is often called Edwin Fletcher. Later in life he moved away from London to live in Thames Ditton, Winchelsea near Rye and Tilehurst in Sussex, where he died in 1945.
Fletcher worked largely in the City, painting scenes of the Thames and recording the busy shipping lanes of this important industrial waterway. During hard times his work was handled by an Islington dealer who sold many of his paintings to American dealers, with whom it proved very popular. He also painted South coast scenes, some including H.M.S. Victory. The occasional portrait came from his hand, including one of the mayor of Margate, which still hangs in the Town Hall, and for which he was reputedly never paid the 80 guinea fee.
Fletcher never exhibited. More on Edward Henry Fletcher
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