Portobello Portraits – Gill Bradley 2012 with autobiographies in 50 words

Portraits of Portobello is a collection of portraits of the rich seam of people from Portobello . This is the view from where I stand; friends, neighbours, those I know well and in passing, some I am just meeting for the first time and others I am re connecting with who have influenced, coloured and created the rich landscape of my community in Portobello . I have lived in Portobello since the late 70s as a student at Camberwell School of Art and Crafts and the Royal College of Art. The paintings were made over a three year period, but the project has been brewing over the many years I have lived in the area. The project will continue and develop outwards from this point.

The paintings use pencil and acrylic  and studies are in ink. Portrait commissions start at £200.00  Details on request. Portraits exhibited here are £200.00 (15x20cm) and £300.00 (40x50cm) including frames.


Laura Del Rivo

“Born 1934, Cheam, Surrey.Educated Holy Cross Convent and 50s’ cafes. Novels THE FURNISHED ROOM (recently reprinted) and SPEEDY AND QUEEN KONG. Story DARK ANGEL now on internet magazine 3AM. Also many excercise books of unpublished genius Prose. (Almost no offer refused.) My Portobello market stall sells hosiery for adventurous gentlewomen. Handsome son Jacob Rety teaches Capoeira at Tabernacle. My hair is not white ffs”

Thomas Vach

“What can I say, one of my all time favourites is when years ago a builder came to the flower stall and asked for a funeral tribute for a mate of his who had died. A little later he came back with the card having written on it ‘All the best’ and , as I was looking at it perhaps a little too studiously, he asked me whether I thought what he’d written was ok and I remember telling him that I thought it was the only thing he could say…”

Velma Davis ‘Vee’

“I’m an early riser…and set off for the pool…I do 20 minutes stretching , then it’s 20 minutes in the water ….Then I socialize with the girls in the shower. I met Ellis under the shower…from Models1…I had my picture taken for Vogue. Notting Hill is the only area I’ve known for 40 years. When I first came over from Trinidad , my god, I was dressed like a circus horse…white gloves and a white hat . …I met a guy I knew in Trinidad Micheal X …He sent us to see Rachman…” extracts from ‘A day in the life..’ Sunday Times

“Tom Vague former punk fanzine editor turned local historian, currently employed as the Rotten Hill Gang projectionist and the Tabernacle timeline chronicler, leading pop Situationist, London psychogeographer and Everton supporter – Buy Tom Vague a pint and be amazed by local history, pop trivia, pub anecdotes, far-out philosophy and vague rants – bitter or Guinness”

“Maureen Peck born1948 . I was born in Notting Hill. Good at sports for my school Running and Swimming. Worked in an office when I left school, went on to work in travel for many years. Have travelled a bit. Had mid-life crisis managed to get a stall on Portobello Road selling fresh vegetables. Enjoying it. Very challenging and hard work..”

gill-portraits-layout6“Lee Harris (born 1936 in Johannesburg, SA), is a playwright, publisher, and spoken word artist. He was one of the few white members of the Congress movement, where he helped with the Congress of the People and met Nelson Mandela. He acted with Orson Welles, Dame Flora Robson, wrote for the British underground press…has been an instrumental figure in the British Counter Culture movement since the seventies. This Year is the 40th anniversary of Alchemy, his shop on Portobello road”

gill-portraits-layout7Lesley Beastall “Growing up – bringing up Annie – walking up and down the ‘Bella home and to work. To drink with and talk to like minded people. Still feel as transient as the day I arrived but with roots so binding me to these streets.”

gill-portraits-layout8 Nick Hewitt “Born and lived in East Africa. Moved to Yorkshire. Then Lancashire. Then Scotland. Then Australia. Then London. Then Kent. Then London. Then Norway. Then Low countries. Then London. Then Africa. Then London. Then Vietnam. Then Sri Lanka Then Africa. Then Vietnam. Settled up the road. London is a good country.”

gill-portraits-layout9“Russ Henderson M.B.E ( Mr. Panman ) Pianist- Bandleader Trinidad & Tobago 1924.. Came to London U.K. 1951. The purpose, to study piano-tuning and repairs, but the demand for musicians and artist at that time was so much, I packed in after one year when I had an offer 1952 to put a band in, at a fashionable restaurant in the West-end at the time. Of which I formed a conventional band doubling with Steel-drums. I take credit for taking the Steel-band out of the Caribbean!! I was honoured with the M.B.E. for services to music, and pioneer of the Notting Hill Carnival.”

gill-portraits-layout10“Angus is Russ Henderson’s son. Angus was born in the early 60s in Ladbroke Grove, then kensal rise. After an education at the french leice he worked as a senior pastry chef in 192 for 10 years before moving to Villandry for 10 years. He now bakes at the Chelsea physic gardens. He is passionate about bikes and cycles everywhere. He has a long history of playing pan with his dad all over and including early years at carnival. He met his partner, Mary whilst working at 192 twenty years ago. Mary now works as a homeopath after letting go a much loved career making felted textiles. Angus and Mary live with their two children in Kensal Rise. Doune, aged 10 loves music and plays a few instruments. Aubrey, aged 5, a curly blonde haired live wire who pretty much runs the family home.” Mary Kirk

gill-portraits-layout11John Mead “Gill Bradley has asked me to write fifty words about myself for her exhibition of portraits. I went for a walk to think about this for a while. It was early afternoon and about to rain.. I got back to my flat and made some coffee. Milk and one sugar.”

gill-portraits-layout12Anne Lambton “Portobello Road is home. This was brought back to me when my niece’s toyshop HONEYJAM opened on Blenheim Crescent. We wanted advice from a nearby stallholder. When chatting I mentioned how fond I’d been of his father who turned out to be his Grandfather! I feel blessed to live here. ”

gill-portraits-layout13Jim Lockton “I live in a little pocket of the world that for me is a BIG place. For more than 20 years Portobello has been my home, workplace and playground. Our streets are not only bursting with vibrant colours and sounds , but with extraordinary people, friends and familiar faces. Gill’s portraits capture many of these faces brilliantly and I feel honored to be part of this project.”

gill-portraits-layout14Emma and Tony Carriera “We both came from Galicia about 40 years ago. We opened our restaurant in portobello, La Plaza, 6 years ago. We have been made very welcome in the area; there is a real sense of community. We love living here. ”

gill-portraits-layout15Jenny Romyn “The most enduring memory is of my three year old daughter, Portobello was her adventure playground, sometimes smattered with blood, punctuated with astonishing language and conducted, curiously, by an elderly grandmother who sat on the corner steps of Lancaster Road, always respected, always controlling the activities of any scary young man who might frighten the little Marit. ”

gill-portraits-layout16Earl Oakin Musician and Comedian. Currently on tour.

gill-portraits-layout17Marilyn Humphreys.

gill-portraits-layout18Harvey Groffman “I have resided at my present address from the age of 6 months, developing an interest in horticulture since 8 years old. Completing over 40 years at Kew Gardens I continue pursuing my vocation by opening my garden under the National Gardens Scheme, assisting elderly residents with their gardens, and regularly winning awards in garden competitions. ”

gill-portraits-layout19Lindy Loo McDonnel “Book Publisher McZine. Irish. Wasn’t born for these times. Chose Portobello as her nest. Sniffs Books. Loves Pinky & Perky. Collects Gerry Mulligan records. Grateful for every day. Shines the mischief light. Does not invite the ordinary.”

gill-portraits-layout20Brian Nevill “An habitué of Ladbroke Grove for 40 years, worked at Frendz, Rock On, and ran a record stall at a Portobello indoor market. A musician, his day jobs have been in the music business, culminating in ten years as consultant at Ace Records. Now semi-retired, Brian is working on a book of reminiscences based on his madcap days in the 60s. ”

gill-portraits-layout21Olabisi Oshin “ from Nigeria. I am a watchmaker in Portobello Green. I normally wear a hat .”

gill-portraits-layout22Sam Harley “Clothshop. Fabric. Linen.Texture. Color. Music.Bass Guitar.Triumph Bonneville. India. Crouch End. Fender. Mandolin. Banjo. Slide. Dub. Bluegrass.Marshall. Shed .Wife. 2 brothers. Mother. Daughter. Son. Kitty. Dogs(love one).Speed. Blue. Orange juice. Tea. Cheese nan, Wine. Autumn. The sea. Whales. 20 years.. The Beatles. Macan(aubergines). Lisboa. Golborne Road. Converse. Alfa Romeo. English countryside. Go-Karts. George’s. Vanity Fair. Master and Margarite. Formula1. Moto GP. Bob Dylan.”

gill-portraits-layout23Idris Fertout I first moved to Portobello when I was 18. Shortly after I started working at Mr Christians Provisions. I loved the area back then, and I still do now. I have tried working in other parts of London, but keep coming back. I love the sense of community we have here. Its one of the last few places in London where you have this amazing mix of culture ,class and ethnicity. Everyone says its one of last villages. It has changed a lot in the last 10 years. Unfortunately a lot of small business have closed and rents have gone up. For that very reason I reside In East Acton, but I still get to enjoy working around the ‘Bella everyday!

gill-portraits-layout24Junior Tomlin “ I was born and raised in Ladbroke Grove. I went to Oxford gardens junior school in the area. Its a great area to live in ; very creative . Nowadays I’m a graphic designer, visual artist and teacher .”

gill-portraits-layout25Will Goven “Will spent ten years living and working in and around London W2 before moving to rural Ireland with his family in 2008. Formerly he worked with Beverley Knowles at her gallery near Portobello Road and for several years he held life drawing and portraiture sessions in the gallery. In 2010 he set up the Moth magazine with his wife, Rebecca. This is based at the Moth Studios in Cavan where art courses and open studio sessions are held. The Moth magazine is a quarterly publication featuring art and literature (”

gill-portraits-layout26Raule Harding “I think that if we are to feel at home in the community we shall have to admitt to Equality in our thoughts Culturally/perhaps politically. A community is at its best. when each member finds security in his place within the Social Structure. When all members can be gainfully employed, everyone, most everyone can be happy. I have met the most fascinating characters, ever, over the years, in this area. The pubs were brilliant, the Warwick, Elgin etc..”

gill-portraits-layout27Annie Bea “ Born and bred Bella girl that I am, these streets make me feel home and happy. Even though it’s changed so much since I was young there are so many faces old and new make up ‘my’ Portobello. The creative people that have surrounded me all my life are the reason why I do what I love and love what I do.”

gill-portraits-layout28Tristan Hazell “ Poet, storyteller, critic, poker of wasp nests and piss taker to the pompous. creator of Jan Nieupjur, Nieupjurism and Abstract depressionism. Living and working in, and writing about Notting Hill, London and most likely not lying as much as he used to.”

gill-portraits-layout29Jon Cramer Writer, Illustrator and designer of the yellow submarine for the film TheYellow Submarine. Late of this parish. Greatly missed.