Crouch End artists donate work on the back of an envelope to brain appeal

PUBLISHED: 10:13 02 November 2020

Artist Julie Held is taking part in The National Brain Appeal's Letter in Mind exhibition

Artist Julie Held is taking part in The National Brain Appeal's Letter in Mind exhibition


Artists whose families have suffered from neurological diseases donated work to the National Brain Appeal’s fundraising A Letter In Mind exhibition

Crouch End Artists  taking part in The National Brain Appeal's Letter in Mind exhibitionCrouch End Artists taking part in The National Brain Appeal's Letter in Mind exhibition

Crouch End and Muswell Hill artists, whose families have been affected by neurological diseases have donated work to a fundraising art exhibition.

Julie Held, Mark Entwisle, Lisa-Marie Price, Craig Barnard and daughter Matilda from Crouch End, and Ben Wilson and Anita Mangan from Muswell Hill have all contributed original art on the back of an envelope to The National Brain Appeal’s A Letter in Mind.

Among 500 pieces by the likes of Grayson Perry, Jo Brand, Sophie Thompson and Dame Zandra Rhodes, they are exhibited in an online gallery at

On the theme of Everyday Things, all are anonymous and available to buy for £85 with the artist’s name revealed once the work is sold. Proceeds go to The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery.

Artist Ben Wilson  is taking part in The National Brain Appeal's Letter in Mind exhibitionArtist Ben Wilson is taking part in The National Brain Appeal's Letter in Mind exhibition

Held has personal reasons for taking part after losing her brother, the political scientist Professor David Held last year. He died aged 67, within months of being diagnosed with glioblastoma brain cancer.

Her sisters, Veronica Held and Susan Usiskin MBE, have both had surgery at The National Hospital; Veronica’s to remove a spinal tumour and Susan for epilepsy. Susan went on to become an epilepsy counsellor at the hospital.

She said: “Taking part in the exhibition is so important and personal to me. Neurological issues have played such a central role in the lives of my family. We were utterly devastated to lose our beloved brother David to brain cancer last year. The charity not only raises vital funds for the hospital where both my sisters have had treatment, they are also funding the first immunotherapy clinical trial for patients with glioblastoma brain cancer. New treatments for this dreadful disease are desperately needed.”

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Crouch End portrait painter, Entwisle, donated work to A Letter in Mind for the first time in 2019, shortly after being treated for a brain tumour at The National Hospital. He said: “I have direct experience of what they do for patients and feel so grateful for how they helped me. Taking part was a perfect way to show my gratitude.”

Muswell Hill sculptor Wilson, whose miniature paintings on chewing gum can be seen on north London pavements from Hampstead to Crouch End’s Clocktower, is taking part for the first time. Ben’s father had Alzheimer’s disease and his mother had a stroke.

“With both of my parents, it was devastating to see how neurological diseases affected them,” he said. “My mother was such a great communicator. The stroke took away her ability to talk as well as paralysing her down her right side. It feels good to take part in something that will benefit people with neurological diseases.”

Camden-based actor Stephen Mangan and his graphic designer sister Anita have backed the exhibition since it started in 2014. Their father James died from brain cancer at the age of 63 and their cousin-in-law Paul died last year from the same disease.

Stephen said: “Sadly we know the devastating impact of diseases like brain cancer and Alzheimer’s on families. We also know the amazing impact that The National Brain Appeal has, supporting the doctors, surgeons and researchers to provide the best treatment with state-of-the-art diagnostic and surgical facilities. I can’t think of a better cause.”

Anita added: “I love the challenge of a collective brief that several hundred artists are responding to, knowing that we will all have our individual take on it, while collectively supporting the same wonderful charity.”

Craig Barnard and daughter Matilda are taking part for the third year running.

Craig said: “I lost my dad last year. He had Alzheimer’s disease for a number of years. It was heartbreaking to see how it affected him. The National Brain Appeal funds services for patients and families with dementia. It’s nice to be able to support the charity by donating an artwork.”

Sales of artworks for A Letter in Mind - Everyday Things open at 11am on November 5.

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