Pieces of Wanstead

©Neil Clayden©Neil Clayden

Artist Neil Clayden has launched a Wanstead-themed jigsaw in aid of charity. In the first of a series of articles looking at some of the 25 paintings featured in the 1,000-piece puzzle, Neil talks about how the project began.

I am a retired Harrods furniture salesman who has lived in Wanstead for over 30 years. I have a degree in Fine Art and Photography from Bath Academy of Art in Wiltshire and have, over the years, managed to keep my painting and photography going in my spare time. My garden shed and kitchen table have long been my studio.

Since September last year, my wife has been receiving treatment at St Bartholomew's Hospital near St Paul's. During recuperation days, having spent three days each week at the hospital, she rediscovered her love of knitting and I kept busy taking photographs. I chose scenes I felt were both interesting to look at and showed local landmarks that everyone would recognise. The image shown here is Wanstead Station, which is, of course, a hub of activity used by everyone. I turned these photographs into paintings.

My wife and I have always enjoyed doing jigsaws as a form of relaxation and we were inspired by a favourite of ours – of village houses in Southwold – to design one of our own. We then set out to turn my paintings into a puzzle. There have been lots of ups and downs in bringing the jigsaw project to fruition, but it has been great to have a positive goal to work towards and now we hope to donate any profits to the charity Bloodwise, which funds research into leukaemia, myeloma and other types of blood cancers. I can't run marathons, swim lakes or climb mountains, but I can take photos and paint pictures!

An exhibition of Neil's paintings will be on display at Wanstead Library until 11 November (original framed artwork is for sale at £55 per painting). The 1,000-piece Wanstead jigsaw is priced £18.50, including local delivery (all profits donated to the charity Bloodwise). For more information, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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