MICHAEL SMITH

– CHEF’S KITCHEN –

An Exhibition of Ingredients

Private View / Evening Reception
6-9pm Thursday 9th November

The exhibition continues to
5pm Saturday 2nd December

I first met Michael in my early days at Abbott and Holder when he came in pursuing some drawings from a Robert Medley sketchbook. His enthusiasm for pictures and picture making stood out to me then. And, unabated, it continues to stand out today. I am sure visitors to this exhibition will recognise this enthusiasm, and see that his beautiful still-lifes are as much a celebration of painting as they are of food.

Michael was trained at the Royal West of England Academy (1989-90) and at Leeds Metropolitan University (1990-93). When he was a teenager, Anthony Eyton was his artist-hero. In art school it was Robert Medley, who was to become a friend as well as a major influence. Michael’s work then, descends directly from that Euston Road / Camberwell tradition of tonal painting that Eyton and Medley were part of. Through Medley, Michael was also introduced to David Hockney and he made a number of trips to L.A. in the 1990s, learning a great deal about painting and picture making in the process.

Michael has exhibited in group shows at Paul Stolper, Anthony Hepworth and Browse and Darby, and has held solo shows at the Groucho Club and Pictorum Gallery. His artistic life has been paralleled by a life in food. He worked at the Groucho Club for many years, then in 2005 joined St John where he works front-of-house and where many of you will recognise him from. As his paintings show, Michael – like all good chefs and restaurateurs – is both passionate and serious about food. His works are always painted from life; at home in London, in the Kitchens of St John, or in Spain where many of these works were made. Nothing is wasted; that which he enjoys painting is cooked, and eaten … and enjoyed again.

Tom Edwards (Managing Director, Abbott and Holder Ltd)


Time plays funny games, unlike beautiful and touching paintings like these still-lifes which, in the gallery or on your wall – whoever reads these little words – are there for a kind of forever…

I can’t remember when young and very tall Michael Smith came into my life, except I know that a long time ago he reached out to me whilst he was writing his dissertation on the art of the wonderful and today far too little-known painter, and a great deal older and wiser friend of mine, Robert Medley (1904 -1994). Perhaps thanks to my introduction Michael was able to meet his hero just before his death. Robert was, during his lifetime as a teacher at the Slade and at Camberwell, but above all as a painter, a very well-known and admired figure in the London art world and in the broader, cultural, mostly gay-orientated world. Bacon, Hockney, Maggi Hambling, Derek Jarman were all closely connected to Robert, who could even remember Diaghilev! Michael, from the perspective of his English provincial art school, somehow hit upon Medley, came to London, and over the last decades has with persistence carved for himself a painting world largely centred around the consciously modest genre of the still-life. 

The still-life is of course rooted in a deliberately “humble” tradition that looks back to the likes of Chardin, Goya and Cezanne and more recently David Hockney. Colour and Perceived Form is of their essence. Michael knows and has looked at food a lot. He works too in one of London’s most deliciously English restaurants. I have a beautiful painting by him of a knife. My sister has acquired several of his works. They record as though for ever that which is otherwise ephemeral. They are not perhaps fashionable in terms of art today, art that hopelessly aims to solve the problems of this unjust world. But they are, in fact, no less real and relevant for all that.

David Hockney (who has painted portraits of Michael) has a current motto: “Love Life!’’. Michael, through his paintings, tells us to “Love Still-Life!”, to love that lamb chop or artichoke, which is indeed beautiful and precious to look at each day. For were it not for painting, Michael’s paintings, would just be gone!

Norman Rosenthal, 31st October 2023


The great joy that is Michael, a dear friend for many years. When not treading the boards at St John, Michael has been quietly applying brushes to canvases delighting in all manner of produce be they quince, lobster or a knob of butter. They are a joy to behold.”
(Jeremy Lee, Quo Vadis)


NOTE: These can be bought directly via this website from the publication of this page at 5pm on 8th November.
If you are buying online your ‘Cart’ will appear in the menu at the top of this page once an item has been added.

Sizes vary greatly. Click on a painting to view further photographs.

Worldwide Postage and Packing – £15

  • Smith, Michael
    Oysers and Lemon – blue ground. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 10.75×14.75 inches.
    £575
  • Smith, Michael
    Crab. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 6.5×8.5 inches.
    £375
  • Smith, Michael
    Turbot. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 14.5×16.5 inches.
    £675
  • Smith, Michael
    Eels. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 12.5×16.5 inches.
    £675
  • Smith, Michael
    Artichoke and Peach. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 10.5×14.5 inches.
    £675
  • Smith, Michael
    Lobster, Lemon and Walnut. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 13.5×20.5 inches.
    £975
  • Smith, Michael
    A Shoulder of Middle White. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 14.75×22.5 inches.
    £875
  • Smith, Michael
    Lobsters and Tulips. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 38.75×25.5 inches.
    £2,250
  • Smith, Michael
    Lobster and Lemon – Blue Ground. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 13.5×18.5 inches.
    £875
  • Smith, Michael
    Spider Crab. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 16.5×20.5 inches.
    £1,500
  • Smith, Michael
    Fennel. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 10.5×8.5 inches.
    £575
  • Smith, Michael
    Sardines. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 16.75×18.5 inches.
    £975
  • Smith, Michael
    Chilli, Crab and Lemon. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 12.5×16.5 inches.
    £675
  • Smith, Michael
    Ribs and Eggs. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 24.5×24.5 inches.
    £1,500
  • Smith, Michael
    Lobster and Lemon. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 14.75×16.75 inches.
    £875
  • Smith, Michael
    Pumpkin. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 15.5×21.5 inches.
    £575
  • Smith, Michael
    Radishes. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 15.5×18.5 inches.
    £575
  • Smith, Michael
    Turbot. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 16.5×19.5 inches.
    £875
  • Smith, Michael
    Borlotti Beans, Chillies and Lemon. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 13.5×16.5 inches.
    £775
  • Smith, Michael
    Half a Pig’s Head. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 20.5×29.5 inches.
    £1,750
  • Smith, Michael
    Buddha’s Hand and Lobster. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 11.5×15.5 inches.
    £575
  • Smith, Michael
    Crab and Lemon. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 14.5×10.5 inches.
    £675
  • Smith, Michael
    Oyster. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 14.5×16.5 inches.
    £775
  • Smith, Michael
    Quince. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 10.5×8.5 inches.
    £475
  • Smith, Michael
    Moon Red, Little Gem. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 7.5×10.5 inches.
    £375
  • Smith, Michael
    Blue Lobster. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 16.5×20.5 inches.
    £1,250
  • Smith, Michael
    Dover Sole. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 10.5×16.5 inches.
    £675
  • Smith, Michael
    Tub of Lard. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 16.5×18.5 inches.
    £475
  • Smith, Michael
    Lobster and Lemon – Yellow Ground. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 12.5×16.5 inches.
    £875
  • Smith, Michael
    Parsley and Chillies. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 12.5×14.5 inches.
    £675
  • Smith, Michael
    Red Snappers. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 18.5×14.5 inches.
    £975
  • Smith, Michael
    Oyster – Blue Ground Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 8.5×9.5 inches.
    £575
  • Smith, Michael
    Asparagus and Lemon. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 16.5×12.5 inches.
    £675
  • Smith, Michael
    Fish Head. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 8×10 inches.
    £475
  • Smith, Michael
    Oyster – Yellow Ground. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 8.75×10.75 inches.
    £575
  • Smith, Michael
    Oyster and Crab. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 14.75×18.5 inches.
    £675
  • Smith, Michael
    Oysters with Sole. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 16.75×22.75 inches.
    £875
  • Smith, Michael
    Four Lobsters. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 18.5×30.5 inches.
    £1,750
  • Smith, Michael
    Onions and Leeks. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 16.5×22.25 inches.
    £775
  • Smith, Michael
    Hogget Ribs and Leg. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 14.75×24.5 inches.
    £975
  • Smith, Michael
    Lemon. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 7.75×10 inches.
    £475
  • Smith, Michael
    Rubarb. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 14.5×21.5 inches.
    £875
  • Smith, Michael
    Oysters – Dark Ground. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 12.5×14.5 inches.
    £675
  • Smith, Michael
    Abandoned Nest. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 8.75×10.75 inches.
    £675
  • Smith, Michael
    Galician Steak. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 16.5×18.5 inches.
    £675
  • Smith, Michael
    Rainbow Chard. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 21.5×14.5 inches.
    £675
  • Smith, Michael
    Spider Crabs and Lemon. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 18.5×20.5 inches.
    £1,250
  • Smith, Michael
    Squid. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 10.5×16.5 inches.
    £675
  • Smith, Michael
    Red Cabbage and Drawing Pins. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 12.5×16.25 inches.
    £675
  • Smith, Michael
    Two Crabs. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 15.5×11.5 inches.
    £675
  • Smith, Michael
    Two Lobsters and Lemon. Oil on canvas. 2023. Signed verso. Framed: 16.25×20 inches.
    £1,250
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