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A Bird's-eye View of Covent Garden MarketEnlarge image

A Bird's-eye View of Covent Garden Market, 1810

Thomas Rowlandson
British, 1756 - 1827
pen and grey-brown and red-brown ink with watercolour over graphite on wove paper, laid down on wove paper
28 x 42.8 cm overall; sheet: 14.1 x 21.6 cm each (approx.)
Purchased 1925
National Gallery of Canada (no. 3230)

Pieced together from four sheets of a sketchbook, this study looks west over London's Covent Garden Market to St. Paul's Church. The church and adjoining piazza were built after designs by Inigo Jones in the 1630s. The square was once a fashionable place of residence, but was eventually taken over by the fruit and vegetable market that remains there to this day. Rowlandson could not resist inserting an amusing note into this straightforward view: toddling into Carpenter's Coffee House in the middle of the day is a party of drunken revellers.

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