Sunday, February 28, 2010

Leadenhall Market

The next exhibition of the Drawing London Group will be at the Brokers Wine Bar in Leadenhall Market opening the end of March 2010.

I visited it last week to check out the venue last week prior to collecting my pictures from our exhibition at the Barbican. It's on the first floor with lots of windows overlooking the market buildings and is the sort of place where people meet up all day long!

A view of Leadenhall Market
pen and sepia ink in a Moleskine sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

Leadenhall Market itself is a splendid example of traditional market archtecture with enormous pillars, a wrought iron and glass roof and enormous lights hanging down from the roof. It used to be a food market but sadly has experienced a "Covent Garden" makeover and is now full of restaurants, pubs and wine bars for brokers and expensive dress shops for the female of the species!

I've been meaning to sketch in Leadenhall Market for years - without managing to do so. I'm really sad I didn't do so while it was still a proper market. However since it occurs to me that sketches of the City and Leadenhall Market might be appropriate for this exhibition - and since the market is under cover I'm thinking I might go back and do some more sketching this next month prior to the exhibition. After all the architecture is very splendid and there's an awful lot of people around to bring some life to a drawing!

You can see my first effort above right - the colours aren't right as I was working with my minimalist set of colours. However it's given me an idea for one view for a drawing.

Below you can find out a bit more about the market.

Leadenhall Market

The Romans built Londinium on the north bank of the Thames - just north of London Bridge. In about 140AD, the city is thought to have been home to about 45,000- 60,000 people. The site of Leadenhall Market used to be where the basilica and forum were. Apparently the forum was bigger than Trafalgar Square and is reputed to be the biggest Roman forum north of the Alps.
In the middle of the Roman town, the Forum was the largest marketplace building north of the Alps, measuring an almost perfect square 168 x 167 m. Two main building phases have been distinguished. The early forum, built after the time of the rebellion of Boudicca, had an open courtyard and several shops around it. The identification of this building as a forum has been disputed, and it has been argued that these were merely large warehouses. At the beginning of the second century the complex was significantly enlarged. The forum still had an open courtyard with shops around, but also a large Basilica. The forum was in use till around AD 300
Wikipedia - Roman London
The name of Leadenhall comes from a mansion which used to stand nearby.

The interior of Leadenhall Market in London
from the Illustrated London News, 1881.

This is what the City of London website has to say about Leadenhall Market - Dick Whittington was given the first leasehold on the Manor of Leadenhall! In Victorian times it had the reputation of being the best poutry market in London.

A meat and fish market occupied a series of courts behind the grand lead-roofed mansion of Leadenhall on Leadenhall street in the 14th century. It was an established meeting place of the Poulterers as early as 1321, whilst the Cheesemongers from the countryside were bound in 1397 to take their produce into the market of Leadenhall.

In 1408 the occupational leasehold title of the Manor of Leadenhall was assigned to Richard Whittington (the Lord Mayor of the time) and citizens of London, and the freehold was conveyed in 1411 to the City of London. The market continued to be used for the sale of fish, meat, poultry and corn, although in 1666 portions of the market were destroyed by the Great Fire. In 1881 the City's architect, Horace Jones, designed the present wrought iron and glass-roofed buildings.

Corporation of London - Leadenhall Market



  1. about that book Katherine!! Put me on the list for buying an exemplaire!
    Great sketch

  2. And the colors are one of the things that make this so successful to my eyes! You did a masterful job of rendering light here. AND space!


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