Purple Art

[January 24 2013]

Jean Cocteau murals in Notre Dame de France Church, London

There are plenty of beautiful architectural and art treasures in London but bizarrely very few people know about the murals Jean Cocteau painted in the chapel of Notre Dame de France in 1959. The church is shipwrecked in the heart of Chinatown and surrounded by dirty and loud restaurants, clubs, girls selling their bodies, multiplex cinemas, a hectic environment 24 hours a day. My father first took me to look at these paintings when I was 15. I remember finding this nexus of opposites incredibly exciting: exquisite art and the echoes of hardcore living. Looking at Cocteau’s imagery while homeless people sleep everywhere around you is quite a surreal experience but one that I repeat every time I find myself in the area. Without question, one of my favourite places in London. Photo and text Jaja Hargreaves

Subscribe to our newsletter