Raven Row

19 Feb

About Raven Row

‘London’s jaw-droppingly elegant new space’.

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Kathryn Hughes writes in The Daily Telegraph about the delights of finding such wonderful examples of mid-twentieth century design.

‘At the top of Raven Row, one of London’s leading contemporary-art exhibition spaces, there lies what can only be described as a surprise.

Climb up through the carefully restored Georgian interior, all polished cast iron and buffed timber, pass through an anonymous MDF door, and you find yourself standing in a three-bedroomed flat that appears to have been frozen in time. The carpet is a busy pattern of golden leaves, the wallpaper is spattered with mauve and yellow starbursts, and the portable television comes with a convenient plastic carrying-handle. It’s like 1972 never left.

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The rooms on the fourth floor of Raven Row are not an ironic  art installation, or, at least, they didn’t start that way. For most of the 20th century they were home to Rebecca, Eva and Hannah Levy.

The Levy sisters came as part of the multimillion-pound property deal and Sainsbury, a scion of the supermarket dynasty that has donated millions to the nation’s art heritage, had no intention of asking them to leave or, indeed, of charging rent.

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Instead, Rebecca and Hannah – middle sister Eva had died in 1984 – carried on their lives in their top-floor flat, as far as their increasing deafness and lameness allowed. Meanwhile, on the elegant floors below, artists of international standing ebbed and flowed around the elegant, muted space.’

Raven Row is a non-profit contemporary art exhibition centre in Spitalfields that is open free to the public, Wednesdays to Sundays. It has been constructed within eighteenth century domestic rooms, onto which 6a architects have added two contemporary galleries, and it stands on the part of Artillery Lane that was known as Raven Row until 1895.

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