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Pictures of London are one of Sim Fine Art’s specialities, along with images of war and the 20th century. So when the dealer came across a cache of unknown pictures of post-war London, it was only a matter of time before they were put on display.

“It was a treasure trove,” says Sim, who found the collection at the clearance of the artist’s house in Richmond, south-west London, after his death at the age of 87.

“It is not only technically accomplished, but a poignant picture of the ordinary London of the late 1940s and early ’50s. It shows London coming back to life after the war: a time of headscarves, powder compacts and orderly queuing.”

The works now form part of This Happy Breed (February 21-26), the latest in Sim’s series of exhibitions that focus on views of post-war London.

Though other pictures showing

London from 1920-50 are also included, the bulk of this show is comprised of Collins’ pictures, and an illustrated catalogue of his works has been produced to accompany the artist’s first recorded show.

The son of a Birmingham bus driver and a graduate of Royal College of Art, the artist, who had a wife and child to support, eventually pursued a career in commercial art. However, he kept the portfolio of pictures he completed during his 20s for the rest of his life, establishing a record of the city in chalk, pastel, watercolour and etching.

Sim describes the scenes of crowds at Tube stops, for example, or antiques shops or women at work, as having “a palpably cinematic quality”. The pieces included document everyday life in London combining the landscape of the city with the life and movement of its citizens.

The exhibition takes place at The Gallery, 54 Shepherd Market, Mayfair.

simfineart.com