Kit Allsopp, Primitive Huts, Natural Landscape
Velorose, 2 February 2018 – 16 March 2018


Accustomed as we are to the built environment, it is easy to forget the simplest reason for building: shelter. Irrespective of ornament, stated purpose, expense or material, almost every building serves to keep us in, and everything else out. One of the earliest models of shelter remains with us – the shed, shack, hut. So much more than husband's or hermit’s refuge, the persistence of a cuboid with gabled roof is almost inescapable; it can be found from research stations in Antarctica to dwellings in the Arctic Circle and most places in between. They are our homes, our offices and our supermarkets. Sheds – decorated or otherwise – are all but ubiquitous

Kit Allsopp began painting elemental structures 'for a laugh’, but years later he’s yet to shed painting sheds. As a practising architect, the template offered seemingly-endless possibilities: 'start with a shed and let’s see what we can do with it', he wrote in 2008. The same can be said of his paintings of sheds: they do not depict any one shed in particular; they are composites of sheds seen on countless walks in many countrysides. 'I made them all the same and then worked on their differences – in scale, colour and vertical or horizontal format, and whether they faced left or right or had windows and doors'. An enduring feature of Kit’s shed paintings is his restrained use of colour, and limited shades to depict the visible walls. His palette tends to natural, earthy hues, suggesting stone or wood. This deceptively simple technique gets to the heart of the shed as archetype, and to its complexity of meaning

Accustomed as we are to the built environment, it is easy to forget the simplest reason for being: Nature. Our bodies and drives were forged here; the natural landscape whence we come is raw and pristine. Perhaps unsurprisingly for an architect, Kit came to painting trees and natural scenery only after his initial work on sheds. He says, ‘like the shed, [trees] are all the same but different, generic and individual'. The difference in how these respective subjects are depicted is striking: where his sheds are rectilinear, concise, sometimes without scale, his natural landscapes abound in the crooked, organic lines of branches and brooks, streams and stems. A sense of scale, or of foreground and background, is instantly recognised by the unmistakably ’natural' sprouting of grasses and trees across the canvas. Colour in these scenes is used with great skill – and at times stealth – to depict subtle natural features; dabs of paint imply leaves and mottled bark, and blurs of green and brown suggest distance in the forest

The Jesuit priest and architectural theorist Marc-Antoine Laugier resolved the apparent opposition between the built and natural environments in his 1753 Essay on Architecture. He praised the Primitive Hut as a structure with its integrity based on – and in – the Natural Landscape. Kit Allsopp’s paintings of the manmade and the natural allow us to appreciate the understated virtue of the Primitive Hut, and the power of the Natural Landscape from which its rules are supposedly drawn

All works are for sale; contact gallery@velorose.com for details





Kit Allsopp, Self Portrait (2014), Oil on Canvas, 250mm x 200mm





Kit Allsopp, Back Gardens (1973), Watercolour on Paper, 255mm x 305mm





Kit Allsopp, White Shed (2008), Oil on Canvas, 600mm x 800mm





Kit Allsopp, Shed (2008), Oil on Canvas, 360mm x 460mm





Kit Allsopp, Shed (2008), Oil on Canvas, 600mm x 800mm





Kit Allsopp, Birch Plantation (2013), Oil on Canvas, 650mm x 800mm





Kit Allsopp, Camden Square 2 (2013), Oil on Canvas, 600mm x 800mm





Kit Allsopp, Birchwood (2011), Oil on Canvas, 300 x 400mm





Kit Allsopp, Hill Village (2012), Oil on Canvas, 300mm x 250mm





Kit Allsopp, Hill Village (2016), Oil on Canvas, 400mm x 300mm





Kit Allsopp, Hill Village (2012), Oil on Canvas, 400mm x 300mm





Kit Allsopp, St Jean de Fos (2007), Oil on Canvas, 250mm x 300mm





Kit Allsopp, St Jean de Fos (2007), Oil on Canvas, 250mm x 300mm





Kit Allsopp, Road and Pit (2012), Oil on Canvas, 300mm x 400mm





Kit Allsopp, River Tone 5 (2016), Oil on Canvas, 300mm x 400mm





Kit Allsopp, Birch Wood (2017), Oil on Canvas, 600mm x 800mm





Kit Allsopp, Hampstead Ponds 2 (2017), Oil on Canvas, 300mm x 400mm





Kit Allsopp, Dark Thicket (2013), Oil on Canvas, 300mm x 400mm





Kit Allsopp, Boathouse (2008), Oil on Canvas, 600mm x 800mm





Kit Allsopp, Shed (2008), Oil on Canvas, 600mm x 800mm





Kit Allsopp, Untitled (2015), Oil on Canvas, 300mm x 400mm





Kit Allsopp, Untitled (2015), Oil on Canvas, 600mm x 800mm





Kit Allsopp, Stream Hampstead (2015), Oil on Canvas, 600mm x 800mm





Kit Allsopp, Shed Ruin (2018), Oil on Canvas, 300mm x 400mm





Kit Allsopp, Shed and Trees (2018), Oil on Canvas, 300mm x 400mm





Kit Allsopp, Shed and Tree (2014), Oil on Canvas, 300mm x 400mm





Kit Allsopp, River Tone Bridge (2016), Oil on Canvas, 600mm x 800mm





Kit Allsopp, Hampstead Ponds 3 (2017), Oil on Canvas, 600mm x 800mm





Kit Allsopp, River Tone 23 (2014), Oil on Canvas, 300mm x 400mm





Kit Allsopp, Untitled (2013), Oil on Canvas, 300mm x 400mm





Kit Allsopp, Wormseye (2015), Oil on Canvas, 300mm x 400mm





Kit Allsopp, Wormseye (2008), Oil on Canvas, 600mm x 800mm





Kit Allsopp, Wormseye (2008), Oil on Canvas, 600mm x 800mm


Kit studied Architecture at Kingston and later worked in the USA and Germany. He joined the Greater London Council's Architects Department where he worked for several years before setting up practice with Andrew Sebire in the early 1970s. As Sebire Allsopp Architects the practice enjoyed great success, winning several competitions and receiving many awards

In parallel with his architectural practice, Kit taught at the RCA from 1985 to 1990 and was appointed Professor of Architecture at Manchester University in 1990. He returned to London in 2000 on his appointment as Professor and Head of Department at London South Bank University where he remained until his retirement in 2008

Throughout his architectural career, Kit has painted. In the last decade he has exhibited regularly in group shows in the Millinery Works Gallery in Islington and in five solo shows at The Gallery in Farringdon. His work has followed several themes ranging from simple architectural forms in the 'Just Sheds' series to the recent collection of 'Ponds, Rivers and Trees' discovered on rambles in the Chiltern Hills and the Somerset Woods