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Mick Smee painting unveiled at Royal Oak

London SE1 website team

A painting by Mick Smee of the Royal Oak in Tabard Street has been installed in the award-winning pub.

Mick Smee with his painting at the Royal Oak
Mick Smee with his painting at the Royal Oak

'Respite at the Royal Oak', depicting the interior, was jointly unveiled by the artist and Jane Jephcote, chair of CAMRA's London Pubs Group, who described the Royal Oak as "the most fantastic pub in London".

Landlord Frank Taylor first saw the painting when it was reproduced in The Sunday Times Magazine having won a prize in an exhibition at the Mall Galleries. Frank decided to get in touch and buy the painting after one of the Royal Oak regulars recalled working with Mick Smee when he was scenic artist and designer at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

The main subjects of Mick's paintings are cafe and pub interiors which he says are not meant to be accurate representations but instead convey a certain atmosphere. However, some people insist that the scenes are very realistic even to those who know a pub well.

Jane Jephcote was delighted to discover that many of Mick Smee's chosen pubs, including Soho's French House and the Punch Tavern in Fleet Street, are also on CAMRA's London Regional Inventry of Pub Interiors of Special Interest.

Mick Smee also designed the stained glass Millennium window at St Nicholas Church in Tolleshunt D'Arcy in Essex.

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