East London Group

Grace Oscroft

1903 to 1970

Grace Oscroft, update

Grace Oscroft: 17/07/1909 to 28/05/1970

Grace was born in Bow where her father ran an ironmonger’s shop at 212 Bow Road. Little is known of Grace’s childhood but it seems as if her shared interest in art with her elder brother John drew her to attend the evening classes that John Cooper taught at the Bow and Bromley Evening Institute. John would not go on to exhibit with the Group but Grace’s artistic exhibiting career began with the East London Art Club exhibition at the Whitechapel in 1928 where she showed five pictures. Her painting of “Garden in Bow” was shown at the small Group show at the National Gallery, Millbank in the spring of 1929 where it was acquired for the national collection on behalf of the Hepworth Gallery.

Grace showed two pieces at the first Group exhibition at Alex. Reid and Lefevre and she continued to contribute work annually up until 1935 but she was not represented in the last Group show in 1936. Her work often seems to have focused on her immediate surroundings in Bow with various roof-top based pictures as well as industrial scenes such as the “Iron Foundry, Bow” and “Bryant and Mays” or views of “Bow Road”. It is also obvious from the catalogue record that Grace painted whilst on holiday: in 1931 she exhibited “Canal, Northampton” and in her last excursion with the Group in 1935 she showed “Welsh Hills” and “Cae Gwege”.

Contemporary press reports of the day seemed to state that Grace worked in the family shop selling radio parts and bicycles but, in later life, her brother stated that this was not the case: it seems as if the story of her being a “shop girl” made good copy! She kept house for her parents and then latterly looked after her mother who suffered badly from rheumatism. After her death Grace found work as a doctor’s housekeeper and then clerical work for various companies: her death certificate recording her occupation as a “warehouse Clerk (retired). She was only 61.

The Iron Foundry, Grace Oscroft.FB

This is a black & white photo of Grace's painting of The Iron Foundry, Bow which was the view from her bedroom window at the back of the house, above the family's shop at 226 Bow Road