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Soho Altarpiece is a ten-panel silkscreen and etching with hand-colouring. It was based on a fascination with the work of Jan Van Eyck, and in particular his Ghent Altarpiece which was featured in a once in a lifetime exhibition in Belgium in 2020.
The key has been done clockwise from the top left.
1 Adam as inspired by an antique carved Adam and Eve fireplace in
The Rodd, Sidney Nolan’s home in Herefordshire.
2 Chevalier d’Eon – 18th century French officer, diplomat, transvestite and secret agent. This is taken from an 18th century illustration and the other half is on the Eve plate.
3 Prince Monolulu, flamboyant gambling tipster who claimed to be a Zulu prince from Abyssinia.
4 Canaletto, born Giovanni Antonio Canal, famous Venetian landscape painter had a studio at 41 Beak Street.
5 Ignatius Sancho, composer of songs for society balls as well as being a writer and an abolitionist
6 David Garrick, Actor
7 Jessie Matthews, Actor, singer and dancer
8 Billie Piper, Actor renowned for ‘Going for dinner with Billie Piper’ -
the London cabby’s mnemonic used to remember the Soho Street order Greek, Frith, Dean, Wardour, Berwick, Poland.
9 David Tennant, Actor literally going for dinner with Billie Piper, played Don Juan in Soho
10 Omar Sharif, Actor
11 Fanny Kelly, Actor
12 Peter O’Toole, Actor
13 Henry Angelo, fencing master who retired after being injured in a dual with Edmund Kean, no. 14
14 Edmund Kean, Shakespearean actor
15 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, lived at 20 Frith Street during his European tour in 1764 when he was 8 years old.
16 Jimi Hendrix who was said to have released his ring-necked parakeets, named Adam and Eve, on Carnaby Street
17 Marc Bolan (as a boy who worked on his mother’s fruit stall on Berwick Street)
18 David Bowie, Musician, singer-songwriter, actor recorded Ziggy Stardust at Trident Studios, 17 St Anne’s Court
19 Count Basie, Musician, band leader
20 Nina Simone, Singer, musician
21 Franz Joseph Haydn, classical composer lived on Great Pulteney Street
22 George Frideric Handel, classical composer, Soho habitue
23 Richard Wagner, composer, wrote The Flying Dutchman on Old Compton Street
24 Ronnie Scott, Musician, club owner
26 Sarah Vaughan, performed at Ronnie Scott’s
27 Miles Davis, jazz musician, songwriter
28 Ken ‘Snakehips’ Johnson, singer who died mid-performance at the Café de Paris during an air raid in 1941
29 Grace Jones, singer, songwriter, actor
30 Joseph Merlin, musician, inventor in 1770 of the roller skates which he wore whilst playing a violin at an event in Carlisle House, Soho Square where he crashed into a £500 mirror.
Banner – The Soho Altarpiece: A celebration of its History, Artists, Writers, Musicians and the Birth of Modern Epidemiology
31 John Snow, the father of modern epidemiology. John Snow was the scientist who first linked the cholera epidemic in Soho with a water pump in Broadwick Street. I have pictured him at the point at which he removed the Broadwick Street pump handle.
32 The Broadwick Street pump
33 The crowd on the street were inspired by an 1852 cartoon called ‘Court for King Cholera’ by John Leech. This was done at a time when the spread of cholera was attributed to overcrowding rather than impure water. I’ve included a whippet as a nod to John Snow’s Yorkshire roots.
34 Jean-Paul Marat, the French revolutionary writer lived in London from 1765 and frequented Soho coffee houses. Image referenced is Death of Marat by Jacques Louis David.
35 Arthur Rimbaud, mercurial French poet known for his tempestuous relationship with the poet Paul Verlaine (no. 36)
36 Paul Verlaine, French poet (see no. 35)
37 James Boswell, Scottish biographer known for his biography of Samuel Johnson (no. 38)
38 Samuel Johnson, English writer and lexicographer whose biography was written by James Boswell (see no. 37)
39 Oscar Wilde, Irish poet and playwright.
40 John Dryden, English poet and playwright and the first Poet Laureate lived at 43 Gerrard Street
41 Edmund Burke, Irish philosopher and statesman
42 Karl Marx, German philosopher and socialist revolutionary lived in a small room in Dean Street where he wrote much of Das Kapital.
43 John Keats, English Romantic poet
44 Percy Bysshe Shelley, English Romantic poet lived at 15 Poland Street
45 Samuel Taylor Coleridge, English poet and philosopher
46 Charles Lamb, English essayist and poet
47 Washington Irving, American short story writer
48 George Bernard Shaw, Irish writer, playwright and political activist.
49 Sheraton table in honour of Thomas Sheraton who lived on Wardour Street
50 Jeffrey Bernard, English journalist famous for his weekly column ‘Low Life’ in The Spectator Magazine. Equally famous for the play Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell by Keith Waterhouse.
51 Virginia Wolfe
52 Dylan Thomas, Welsh poet who lost his manuscript for Under Milkwood during a pub-crawl in Soho. These are the papers he is chasing but are also scattered throughout this panel.
53 The Blue Boy by Thomas Gainsborough (the model for the Blue Boy was the son of a Soho ironmonger)
54 Tiger references The Tyger by William Blake, who was born and lived in Soho
55 William Hogarth (reference is his pug dog named ‘Trump’ from his self-portrait)
56 Josiah Wedgwood bowl (Wedgwood had two warehouses in Soho)
57 Aubrey Beardsley, eccentric English illustrator and author
58 Frank Auerbach, artist
59 Francis Bacon, artist
60 Lucien Freud, artist
61 Angelica Kaufmann, artist
62 J M W Turner (when he was a boy, Turner would sell cloudscape watercolours in Soho Square)
63 Joshua Reynolds, artist and first President of the Royal Academy of Arts
64 Richard Dadd, artist lived in Leicester Square (daisies from his painting the Fairy Feller’s Master Stroke)
65 Eve from the Adam and Eve fireplace in The Rodd (see no. 1)
66 Chevalier d’Eon, French officer, diplomat, transvestite and secret agent (see no. 2)
67 Mary Seacole, British nurse famous for her work in the Crimean War. Lived at 10 Soho Square
68 Muriel Belcher, founder and proprietress of The Colony Room, a private drinking den on Dean Street.
69 Quentin Crisp, eccentric English writer, actor, civil servant and life model.
70 Theresa Cornelys, Venetian operatic soprano who was the founder of Soho’s first members’ club Carlisle House. She was once romantically involved with Casanova (no. 71)
71 Giacomo Casanova, Italian adventurer and writer, famous for his complicated and prolific love life (see no. 70)
72 Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson, inspirational naval commander. Bought his coffee from a coffee house on Brewer Street that was built from the timbers of a French vessel captured in the Battle of the Nile
73 Emma Lady Hamilton, English maid, model, dancer, actress and the mistress of Admiral Nelson (no. 72)
74 Cristine Keeler, worked at Murray’s Cabaret Club at the start of the Profumo Affair
Map of Soho
For this panel, I have not numbered the details that are depicted by
logos which include their names (such as Wong Kei, Bar Italia, The Marquee, etc.)
75 Cloudsley Shovell, English Naval Commander
76 The Establishment Club, Peter Cook proprietor
77 Botero Cat, Soho Hotel, Richmond Mews
78 Bob Godfrey, animator depicted through his creation Henry’s cat
79 Quentin Crisp (see no. 69)
80 All references cited as 80 are Soho Noses, which are a number of works of sculptural graffiti affixed to building in and around Soho to comment on the widespread use of CCTV
81 St Martin’s College of Art, Charing Cross Road. The reference for this is a friend of mine, the gallerist Hazel Peiser depicted as she looked when she attended the college
82 Isaac Newton, English scientist and astronomer built an observatory of Shaftesbury Avenue
83 Foyles Bookshop, Charing Cross Road
84 Mrs Meyrick, Kate Meyrick ran the 43 Club at 43 Gerrard Street
85 Maison Bertaux, French café and tea room on Greek Street
86 Lenny Bruce, alternative American comedian whose act almost got The Establishment closed down
87 Sarah Siddons, Welsh actress known for acting in tragedies
88 John Logie Baird, English inventor first demonstrated television at 22 Frith Street (Bar Italia)
89 Richard Dadd (see no. 64)
90 The Prince Charles Cinema, Leicester Place
91 Loon Fung Supermarket, Chinatown, Gerrard Street
92 Keith Waterhouse, British novelist, newspaper columnist and author of the Soho play Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell
93 Jeffrey Bernard, writer (see no. 50)
94 Soho House, members social club on Dean Street
95 l’Escargot, French restaurant in a converted townhouse on Greek Street
96 Le Beat Route, nightclub on Greek Street
97 Peppino Leoni, founder of Quo Vadis, members club on Dean Street
98 Graffiti left by Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols in a flat on Denmark Street
99 Bench in Soho Square commemorating singer songwriter Kirsty MacColl
100 Mary Seacole, British nurse (see no. 67)
101 Hut in Soho Square (beautiful building that is actually an entrance to an electricity substation)
102 Ronnie Scott’s legendary jazz club, founded by jazz saxophonist Ronnie Scott (see no. 24)
103 The Groucho Club, private members club on Dean Street
104 Colin Wilson, author of The Outsider and Adrift in Soho. His disapproving prospective father-in-law was a rural landowner who came into Soho and horse whipped him.
105 The Blue Posts, public house Rupert Street
106 The Colony Room, private members drinking club, Dean Street
107 Admiral Duncan, public house on Old Compton Street (image is of Admiral Adam Duncan)
108 The French House, restaurant and bar on Dean Street (Charles de Gaulle’s headquarters during WW2)
109 Karl Marx, German philosopher and writer, see no. 42
110 Botanist Joseph Banks, botanist and plant hunter who lived at 32 Soho Square
111 The Gargoyle Club, private members club on Dean Street which had Matisse’s Red Room hanging in its lounge
112 The Piano Bar, Carlisle Street
113 William Hogarth, painter and printmaker who frequented Soho and depicted it in his four times of day (also detail no. 55)
114 William Blake, painter, printmaker and poet (see details 54)
115 Reckless Records, Berwick Street
116 The Broadwick Street water pump
117 Ronnie’s Flowers, Berwick Street
118 Raymond’s Revue Bar, nightclub opened by Paul Raymond
119 Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, image is from the play A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
120 Chinese New Year symbolised through the Chinese Dragon
121 John Constable, English painter
122 J M W Turner, English painter
123 Crazy Coqs, cabaret and theatre in the Brasserie Zedel
124 Topo Gigio, Italian restaurant on Brewer Street
125 Golden Square, sculpture of a stiletto shoe by Kalliopi Lemos
126 Mildred’s vegetarian restaurant on Greek Street and then Lexington
127 Small Faces, formed in Soho by impresario Don Arden
128 John Snow, scientist who proved the origin of the cholera epidemic (also see main reference no. 31) and Reverend Henry Whitehead, the St Luke’s Church curate who supported him
129 Madame d’Arblay, English novelist and playwright
130 Shane McGowan wrote A Rainy Night in Soho
131 Amy Winehouse often sang at the venue Jazz After Dark
132 Pamela Jennings, known as Soho Pam was a homeless woman who frequented streets around the Coach and Horses pub
133 Harold Moore’s Records, classical music shop on Great Marlborough Street
134 Willy Clarkson, theatrical wig maker lived on Wardour Street
135 Craftsmen Potters Shop, pottery shop originally on Foubert’s Place and now Marshall Street
136 Ring necked parakeets introduced by Jimi Hendrix (see detail no. 16)
137 Lady Jane, women’s clothing boutique on Carnaby Street
138 Jimi Hendrix’s guitar at the Bag’o’Nails
139 John Stevens, fashion entrepreneur who first worked for Bill Green at Vince’s (see no. 145) before opening His Clothes on Carnaby Street
140 The Crown and Two Chairmen, public house on Dean Street
141 Major General William Roy, founder of the Ordinance Survey Map lived at 10 Argyll Street
142 Tom Cribb, English world champion bare-knuckle boxer
143 Bob Fletcher
144 Liberty , shirt designer
145 Bill Green, fashion entrepreneur who opened London’s first men’s boutique, Vince’s in Newburgh Street
146 Lance Bowmer, mercurial and charismatic buyer in the British Crafts Room at Liberty
147 Iron Foot Jack, Australian born nightclub owner
148 King David, friend of Iron Foot Jack
149 Lucien Freud, painter (detail no. 60)
150 Francis Bacon, painter (detail no. 59
151 Muriel Belcher, landlady of The Colony Room
152 Olaudah Equiano, writer and abolitionist
153 Wedgwood Pottery, (see detail 56)
154 Stanley Green, known as The Protein Man, campaigner about the perils of protein
155 Graham Green, English writer and journalist
156 Toy car in Maurice House, Walkers Court
157 Maude Stanley, British youth work pioneer and women’s welfare activist
158 Anne Louise Germaine Necker, Baronne de Staël Holstein, ran salons and advocated equality for women
159 Freddie Mills, British boxer and world light heavyweight champion
160 Thomas Sheraton, furniture designer (see detail no. 49)
161 George Orwell, English novelist and journalist
162 Marcus Garvey, Jamaican writer, publisher and political activist
163 Amy Ashwood Garvey, Jamaican political activist who opened Florence Mills Social Club, a jazz club on Carnaby Street
The Hunting Ground
Soho started out as Henry VIII’s hunting ground and the name came
from an often-heard hunting cry ‘So Ho! So Ho!’ The piece is loosely based on Tudor tapestries.
164 Henry VIII, inspired by Holbein’s portrait
165 The Star and Garter is a Soho public house
166 John Blanke, Black trumpeter in the courts of Henry VII and VIII