I was recently commissioned to do a watercolour of Borough Market in London at the south end of London Bridge in Southwark.
Although sellers have been on the site for well over 1,500 years the market was officially established in Act of Parliament in 1756 and administered by a group of trustees who have to live locally. It covers an area of over four acres.
Borough market is one of London’s most popular and ‘up market’ markets you will find. No point looking for cheap knock off Nike trainers or 30 bananas for £1 here. You will discover a labyrinth of eateries, wet fish stalls, the best cheeses in the country and everything in between. All this squeezed in to the narrow spaces beneath a spaghetti of wrought-iron and brick railway bridges.
It is a great place to pick up a picnic for the day and eat it in the grounds of Southwark Cathedral or take a quick walk around the corner and sit by the river to take in the view of the opposite bank.
I began the initial drawings in July when the temperature was over 32c (90 Fahrenheit). The previous summer was rainy and miserable so you could feel everyone making the most of it all and taking time out to get as much of what the sun had to offer, even those in stuffy suits and ties were baking merrily in the heat, so the first part of my day was producing studies of Londoners just enjoying themselves.
For the main background I chose the The Grade II-listed Floral portico. It is a Victorian building though has been here for only a few years. It originally stood in Covent Garden, but was dismantled when the Royal Opera House site was redeveloped in 1999 and found its new home here.
It fits in rather well with all the iron of the railway bridges and market stalls so I felt it would be a good choice.
I finally needed to bring all the elements together in the final piece for the watercolour. It worked out pretty well even in the heat of the day and the client was happy with the final result. I celebrated with a Sushi at Feng Sushi that sits right opposite the portico. Lovely it was too.