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Magnus Rodwell’s Hidden London

Magnus Rodwell, half Swedish-half English, grew up in Bournemouth and only knew London from the occasional tourist visit: ‘I would admire the architecture on my are times there and wonder at the stories that lay behind the various landmarks,’ he remembers.

Those memories brought him back to live and work in the capital in 1997 where he found a ‘diverse population, with new cultures to explore and new friends to be made.’

With the ‘occasional burnt-out car’ and his sheltered background, Magnus decided some streets were no-go areas, but still made Bermondsey his home as he was mesmerised by Tower Bridge.

In 2011 he left the finance industry and began a new career as an ‘impressionist illustrator of London streets’.

Magnus had enjoyed art at school but it was just a hobby until a time when he was torn between his love and his conventional 9-5 routine. His hobby won.

He finds inspiration not just from the old and new architecture but also from Dickens who ‘frequently visited the neighbourhood back in the 1800s’ and referenced the local landmarks in his novels.

In his favourite place, Bermondsey Street, Magnus is continually discovering new historic facts: ‘I only recently found out that there was a workhouse situated in the park next to Bermondsey Street. Those words ‘Workhouse’ have grim connotations but still create an obsession to know more and find out the history.’

Having always loved vibrant colours, Magnus found himself drawn to the impressionist style. ‘Growing up, Carl Larsson was a big inspiration with his household scenes.’

Sometimes, Magnus reveals, the colours he chooses do not always reflect the location but they do put a Scandinavian twist and ‘give a joyous air to places’.

Magnus Rodwell’s Hidden London show can be seen between 17th – 30th June at The Greenhouse, Courage Yard, Shad Thames, SE1 2NJ. Admission: Free.

Times: 10am – 7pm Mon – Sat; 11am – 5.30pm Sunday.


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