Frederick Nash, OWS (British, 1782–1856)
Covent Garden Market
Watercolour over traces of pencil with scratching out
15 x 22.5 cm; 5 ⅞ x 8 ⅞ inches
Provenance: The Flannery collection, UK, and by descent until 2018.
Engraved: By A. C. Allen, 1824.
Literature: Huon Mallalieu, The Dictionary of British Watercolour Artists up to 1920, 2002, vol. II, illustrated, p. 68.
This bustling fruit and vegetable market on the site of the current covered market shows Covent Garden in full swing, with baskets and wheelbarrows much in evidence. The root vegetables on sale suggest it was drawn in the autumn. The market was known for being disorderly, with few passageways leading into the piazza, which regularly became congested, causing fights. Many vendors did not pay the tolls, and the Earl of Bedford, owner of the piazza, having taken many people to court for non-payment, had a new market built in 1830 which divided vendors into sections.
St Paul’s, Covent Garden, and most of the buildings shown are still present today.
Nash was a builder’s son who studied architectural drawing under Thomas Malton, attended the RA Schools and started his career as an architectural draughtsman. In 1807 he was appointed architectural draughtsman to the Society of Antiquaries and worked for them for many years. He was based in London until the mid 1830s when he moved to Brighton.