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The Old Covent Garden Market: A Retrospect by Nigel Dicker
As the nation’s poppies open their scarlet petals in honour of those fallen in combat a century ago, this November marks a month of double remembrance for our Capital. On November 9th, the stroke of midnight will mark the fortieth anniversary of the close of old Covent Garden market.
In honour of this watershed moment, as the merchants packed up and headed home one last time, photographer Nigel Dicker takes us on a celebratory tour of a Covent Garden very different to the tourist hotspot of 2014. Transporting us through the camera’s lens, Dicker drops us in 1974, and a market in its final days. While the setting is familiar, the beautiful, bold arch of the neo-classical market building is stage to an unfamiliar scene. Awash with plants, fresh veg and the charming greengrocer jackets of old, Dicker’s images capture the heart and soul of a traditional marketplace in swing. As tradesmen bustle, push carts, chat and laugh, the space brims with colour and life. And then, as we glide from canvas to canvas, a increasingly familiar picture forms, the effervescence of the images leaping forth into the present to call to mind the Covent Garden of today: energetic, noisy, alive. Marking the beginning of the Covent Garden Festival 2014 – the first of its kind – Dicker’s collection provides not only a flashback into the not-so-distant, yet strikingly different past of central London; it offers perhaps the most elegant way of celebrating the market as it once was: by reminding us just how glorious it still is to this day. It is a celebration of life, culture and history, and an encouragement to make the short journey down Neal Street for a stroll under the arches of this timeless landmark.
‘The Old Covent Garden Market’ will be on show at Freud, 198 Shaftesbury Avenue, until Saturday 30th August. All pieces are for sale – please email all enquiries to email@example.com