John Allin 1934– 1991
Hitchcocks: High Class Fishmonger c.1980
Oil on canvas 20 × 20 inches (51 × 51 cm)
Allin was born in Hackney, and his local streets, markets and shops became his subject matter. His paintings accompanied Arnold Wesker’s text in the book Say goodbye: you may never see them again (1974), in which the fast-disappearing character of the East End was described. Allin taught himself to paint during a spell in prison for theft. He found paid work wherever he could, often as a lorry driver, which he addressed by signing his work Allin Road. From the late 1960s he was a regular exhibitor at Portal Gallery, enjoying commercial and critical success. In 1979, he won the international Prix Suisse de Peinture Naïve, the first British recipient of the prize.