From Hollywood to disappearing Soho


I met the artist Lincoln Townley at the House of Commons. His wife, Denise Welch, is an avid supporter of the Eve Appeal Charity and they were launching their March ‘Make Time for Tea’ campaign. Surrounded by a plethora of faces from the TV, a tall, dark and handsome, sharply dressed man caught my eye so I thought I would introduce myself. He turned out to be Soho tailor to the stars, David Newell of Newell Bespoke and Lincoln’s best friend. Sharing a love of bespoke, style and Soho, we instantly bonded. He immediately offered a bespoke shooting jacket for the Eve Appeal Charity Shoot at West Wycombe on May 28th and introduced me to Lincoln who kindly invited me to his imminent exhibition.

Prestigious guests, VIP’s, as well as leading figures from the art world gathered to celebrate with Lincoln earlier this month at the debut launch of his Disappearing Soho collection at the National Gallery.  Townley had just returned from a very successful trip to Hollywood where he presented commissioned portraits to Hollywood legends, to include Charlie Sheen, Nick Nolte, Harry Dean Stanton and Mickey Rourke. Lincoln’s exhibition was supported by actors from Downton to Hustle, 80’s pop icon Marc Almond and modern day muse, Matty Healy from The 1975 among many others.

Lincoln Townley and The 1975

Prior to the launch, porn-king and Joint Chairman of West Ham United Football Club, David Sullivan, purchased Townley’s first ‘Disappearing Soho’ artwork from the collection and dropped by to see the paintings at the National Gallery as well. He commented: “This is an amazing exhibition. Soho is dying and these paintings remind us of the energy the place once had. Lincoln lived and nearly died on the streets of Soho so there’s no-one better placed to paint the soul of Soho than Lincoln.”

As the party came to a close, Lincoln mused “Soho is very close to my heart and to launch this collection at the National Gallery was a privilege. I hope the Soho I knew, populated by porn barons, strippers, artists and writers is never forgotten. This collection is my attempt to remind us all about this incredible part of London that’s about to disappear and become a sanitised tourist attraction.”

I understand a little about where he comes from as I still have vivid memories of my nights and times in Soho. Bursting with true creatives and hedonistic souls, night would turn to day so easily and from Gerry’s to the French House, the weird and wonderful characters I met along the way are indelibly etched in my memory. Many of the memories are slightly blurred it has to be said, but it is magical to see this essence now life is a little more staid, living on through his paintings now.

Townley is now positioning his next collection W1, which will be showing at The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), on Pall Mall, London later in the year. Number 1 of the collection has already been purchased by film star Tamer Hassan for £65,000.

NOTE: Lincoln Townley is a UK artist and his paintings are exhibited internationally and collected by connoisseurs of art and renowned individuals, many of whom share a fascination with the turbulent themes of his paintings and the story of his rise from the gutters of Soho to become one of the most talked about artists on the contemporary art scene. His autobiography, The Hunger, published by Simon and Schuster in 2014, is the story of his life as a director of a gentleman’s club in Soho and his descent into addiction.

Lincoln Townley


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