In celebration of the Christmas lights being switched on in Covent Garden this evening, we feature this lovely map of the precinct, which has been drawn by artist Adam Dant, for The Covent Gardener, a periodical that focuses on the landmarks, shops and residents and characters of London’s famous and bustling shopping and tourism heart, Covent Garden. The work appears in his recently published compendium, Maps of London & Beyond. The first version of the map appeared in a 2015 issue of the publication, and since then, Adam Dant has gradually added characters to the map, issue by issue. In the book, Adam writes that he was inspired by the time when breakfast cereals contained a random plastic figurine in each box, allowing the gradual build up of a collection like this.
If you have ever visited Covent Garden, you will be familiar with at least some of the current-day characters represented – which coexist on the map with those from 300 or so years of history of the market. For example, the “dog man” (34) or the “Yoda” street performers (12), on the section leading from Covent Garden tube station to the central market building. Spot also the Moomins (22) who have a tiny shop inside the historic market building. The presence of the person dressed as a giant apple (14) marks the “Apple Festival” which is held in autumn each year to highlight and promote the UK’s apple harvesting season, she coincidently is located outside the building of the modern Apple Store:
The map is distictively an Adam Dant work, with the soft watercolour brushstrokes, distinctive colour palette (dark greens predominate here) and intricate detailing of landmarks and people. The adjacent page reproduces the 52 characters in a line-up and provides detail on the story that each one represents. The book, Maps of London & Beyond, is beautiful work in itself, each page being A3 in size and printed on unfinished paper which captures the colours wonderfully. The book makes a lovely gift – it is of course available on Amazon in hardcover, and from all good bookstores. (If you already have the book, The Covent Gardener is on pp88-89.)
Thank you to Batsford Books for the review copy.