Poster Project at Van Gogh’s House

Things to see and do
Van Gogh's House

On the Western Window Pane

‘On the Western Window Pane’ is a new year long project organised by the Van Gogh House, presenting 12 artist designed posters in its front, west facing window. Envisaged as a simple but direct way of making the house accessible to the public, artists were invited to create posters drawing out the many-layered narratives from the building’s remarkable history. Each artist has taken their own approach to topics ranging from domesticity and mental health to coming-of-age and unionism.

Since the installation of the blue plaque in 1973, the exterior of the house has become an enigmatic shell for passers-by to project upon, sparking interactions between the building and those who make a pilgrimage. During this past year of isolation and staying at home, windows have been an important space for display and communication.

A letter from Van Gogh’s early days in London contained a transcription of a poem by John Keats called ‘The Eve of St. Mark’. One of the verses contains the line ‘on the western window panes’ and continues to describe how the whole world seems to be reflected and contained in this piece of glass:

‘And, on the western window panes,
The chilly sunset faintly told
Of unmatur’d green valleys cold,
Of the green thorny bloomless hedge,
Of rivers new with spring-tide sedge,
Of primroses by shelter’d rills,
And daisies on the aguish hills’

The verse captures Van Gogh House’s approach to this project, seeing the building as a portal to an endlessly rich body of themes and conversations.As with many other small arts organisations, the Van Gogh House was severely affected by the pandemic. By selling posters, Van Gogh House hopes to support the artists involved and use the income to fund future projects.

The first poster will be installed on the 1st April 2021, and made by artist Brighid Lowe as part of her series ‘Vessel Heads’.

Other artists involved include (but not limited to) Madeleine Pledge, Lesley Sharpe, Jordan Baseman, Katrina Palmer, Allison Katz and Ye Funa.

A new poster will be installed on the first of each month until March 2022, with 12 posters in total.

Posters are priced at an accessible £50.

People will be encouraged to place their posters in their windows, and share these photos and their experience through social media.

People will be encouraged to share their thoughts and reflections on each poster, how it may relate to South London, Vincent van Gogh, mental health etc via an online ‘visitors book’ accompanying each poster.