Hackney art heist sees £1,500 painting stolen from Shoreditch gallery

Stephen Harwood's painting of Commercial Street was stolen from Studio 1.1 gallery in Shoreditch. 

Stephen Harwood's painting of Commercial Street was stolen from Studio 1.1 gallery in Shoreditch. - Credit: Stephen Harwood

A painting of Commercial Street in Tower Hamlets, worth £1,500, was stolen from a Shoreditch art gallery last month - causing upset to its artist.  

Hackney artist Stephen Harwood said the theft was "awful" and an "unfortunate incident".

His recent painting Commercial Street Facade was the only piece stolen, some time between 2-5pm, on Saturday (August 28) from Studio 1.1 gallery on Redchurch Street, Shoreditch. 

Stephen told the Gazette: "It’s never happened before, to me or the gallery and it’s strange because people are normally very respectful of artists and pictures, particularly pictures of local places.

"It’s hardly something that can transfer into cash very easily. Perhaps they really, really wanted it and the location was in some way important to them - I don’t know."

Commercial Street Facade painting by Stephen Harwood.

The 60 by 55cm painting, called Commercial Street Facade, was the only piece stolen at a Shoreditch exhibition on August 28. - Credit: Stephen Harwood

The painting depicts a façade located just down the road from the gallery.


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It was being displayed at a group show featuring more than 30 artists and Stephen was hoping to showcase it in a solo show he had coming up in a couple of weeks called Gone Tomorrow. He is now trying to remake the painting, "against the clock, bigger and hopefully better". 

He says the gallery is invigilated with a monitor covering the door but no CCTV. He adds that the gallery's owner was chatting to a client at the time when the painting is believed to have been taken off the wall. 

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Stephen said: "There were smaller pieces nearer the door, so we believe the piece was required or targeted."

Stephen Harwood's painting (on the right) was stolen from Studio 1.1 gallery in Shoreditch. 

Stephen Harwood's painting (on the right) was stolen from Studio 1.1 gallery in Shoreditch. Other works of his have been bought by famous names like Sir Ian McKellen and David Hockney. - Credit: Stephen Harwood

Stephen Harwood lives and works in Hackney and has been painting about East London for almost 30-years. Famous names like David Hockney, Sir Ian Mckellen and Matthew Parris own his works of art and novelist Peter Ackroyd has described Stephen as "one of London's finest interpreters". 

A spokesperson for the Met said: "Police are investigating an allegation of theft after a painting was reportedly stolen from an art gallery in Redchurch Street, Tower Hamlets, on the afternoon of August 28."

Enquiries are ongoing. No arrests have been made. 

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