All images courtesy of Portsmouth Museums ©

About our project


Artist Edward King suffered from depression and in 1925 was committed to Portsmouth Borough Lunatic Asylum (St James’ Hospital) where he remained until his death in 1951. Known for his paintings of St James’ grounds, King was commissioned by the mayor to paint scenes of the World War II bomb damage to Portsmouth. Admired by his contemporaries, including Van Gogh and Whistler, King faded into obscurity, perhaps because of the stigma of his mental illness.

Our project is inspired by King’s art and aims to:

  • raise awareness of King’s contribution to British art, particularly his depictions of post-war Portsmouth;
  • explore the relationship between art, storytelling and mental health;
  • provide opportunities for local writers to engage with King’s art and create original fiction inspired by it;
  • enable Portsmouth residents to engage with King’s paintings and the stories created by our writers as well as writing their own stories inspired by his art.

Our team of 14 writers have each chosen an Edward King painting for inspiration and written a story to be published on this website. Go to the ‘Story Gallery’ page to read the stories. Don’t forget to also check out our ‘Writers’ page to find out more about the project writers.

We are holding some free workshops so you can come along and write your own stories inspired by Edward King’s art. Please have a look at our ‘Events’ page to find out when and where the workshops are taking place, and how to book.

We are putting on a series of readings, both formal and informal, where our project writers will perform their work. Check out our ‘Events’ page for full details.

Any comments or questions? Click on the ‘Get in touch’ button below to find out how to contact us.

We would love to hear from you.
Please click the button below to find out all the different ways to get in touch.

Get in touch

All Edward King images used on this website are courtesy of Portsmouth Museums ©