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Goodbye Bert

Albert Irvine OBE RA

Bert Irvin in his studio 2009 © Hugh Gilbert

Albert Irvin OBE RA was a gentleman and the person who introduced me as a teenager to Guinness. I first met Bert when he had studio at St Katherine’s Dock next to Tower Bridge. Lunch with Bert, Peter Sedgley and Basil Beattie involved doorstop wedges of white bread, cheese and pickled onions at the China Ship, a stevedores pub next to the dock. In the last sixties and early seventies, St Katherine’s was a disused collection of warehouses built in Napoleonic times and housed over a hundred artists. Bert’s later double studio in Stepney Green was a splendid high ceilinged pair of classrooms, with plenty of light and still in a community of artists. He surrounded himself with artists and was loved by all. His gallery Gimpel Fils, and print house, Advanced Graphics were his connection with the commercial world.

I shall miss Bert who could speak eloquently about abstract expressionism and on occasion his time in the bombers during WW2.

Albert Irvin died on 26 March 2015, and my thoughts are with his wife, Betty.

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Hugh Gilbert
About the blog

A view of the contribution that artists make to the cultural history of our lives. I am privileged to visit many studios in my work, and am always astonished at the variety and beguiling nature of them. This project began in 2001, and will continue as long as I have the help of my (mostly) willing subjects.


All Images © Hugh Gilbert.

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