Photographer

Alan Seabright

The day started fine, but the closer to London the train got, the darker the weather was becoming. This was a concern because in the painting Work, the day is warm and bright, and I wanted to capture the same look in the shot of the area today. Sure enough, there were delays getting into London and the first drops of rain fell on arrival! (The day before had of course been sunny and dry, as is always the way!)

I found the street in Hampstead with the help of the local postman, and was amazed how little had changed since Brown's day: the wall on the left, with the lantern lamps, the large tree with the ditch, distant buildings and the lamp-posts down the bottom of the street were all still there, frozen in time!

But some of the things they did not have in Brown's day were... WHITE VANS! Yes! There was one parked in the street in all its glory. Meanwhile the weather was getting darker, with heavy rain on its way. Would I ever be able to capture the 'original' scene?

Hoping the van would not be there long, I started on the detailed shots of the street. Then to my glee, the white van man was gone and I was back on track. Using a postcard of the painting as a guide, I lined up the camera to mirror the image Brown had painted: job done! Then a lady who lived on the street came over to see what I was doing taking detailed photos of property up and down her street! When I explained and she saw the postcard from the Manchester Art Gallery she was amazed and thrilled that a painting of such quality had been painted detailing the street where she had lived all her life. She took the web address of the gallery, so there could be a few orders coming in for posters of Work very soon.