Francesca Lowe: Auction will raise money for family of Stoke Newington artist who died at 37

Hugh Mendes' oil painting: 'Obituary: Francesca Lowe', which is on sale in the auction.

Hugh Mendes' oil painting: 'Obituary: Francesca Lowe', which is on sale in the auction. - Credit: Hugh Mendes'

Colleagues and friends of a Stoke Newington artist have rallied to help her widower and son – by donating work for a charity auction.

Francesca Lowe, 37, died in January. She suffered from degenerative heart disease and had been sick with norovirus when she was found collapsed by her husband at their home in Yoakley Road. She was heavily pregnant.

Now the works of 60 artists including Ben Eine, Tim Noble and Sue Webster have been collected for the two-week online auction In Memoriam, which goes live on Wednesday.

Money raised from In Memoriam will be donated to Francesca’s husband Gavin Nolan, who is also an artist, and their four-year-old son Uli.

Zavier Ellis, the director of Charlie Smith London artroom, is one of five friends who came up with the idea.

He told the Gazette: “Our first response was of course shock, and once one went beyond the initial emotional response, we just really wanted to help the family going forward.

“When you consider you have a married couple with a young son sharing a home and sharing a studio – both artists – and you take 50 per cent of the household income away, I think that would be challenging for anyone. We wanted to try to address that and provide a foundation going forward for their young son.

Most Read

“Independently we thought: ‘How can we use our skill set and contacts to try and help the family?’ The obvious solution was to organise an exhibition and make it high profile and large scale.”

They have been overwhelmed by the response, and The owner of the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane is giving the space free of charge for a private view on November 8.

Zavier said: “People have been so kind to donate work without hesitation, from emerging artists to household names.

“We are coming together to move from mourning to celebrating. Fran was a very charismatic, very beautiful, highly talented artist.

“She was one of those people that has an impact or an effect on anyone she met, who really touched people. Everyone found it very difficult to believe she is gone. It’s a tragedy.”

Zavier is reluctant to say how much he hopes the auction will raise.

“To some degree we have avoided totalling the works available. I do have a figure in mind and we want to do the best we can – but the art business is an unpredictable game,” he said.

An inquest into the cause of Francesca’s death concludes on Monday.

See to register for the auction.