‘A Walk Around Eighteenth-Century Covent Garden’ – 1st December

Birkbeck Eighteenth-Century Research Group:

Reading Group, led by Dr. Thom Braun, Department of History of Art, Birkbeck College

‘A Walk Around Eighteenth-Century Covent Garden’

12.30pm, Tuesday 1st December, Room 112, School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square

The most famous image of someone walking in eighteenth-century Covent Garden is by William Hogarth: his Morning, from The Four Times of the Day. Please follow this link to see the print version – the only thing you need to ‘read’ in advance of the session:


In the eighteenth century Covent Garden piazza was the centre of a dynamic ‘round-the-clock’ urban space that encompassed a fruit and vegetable market, a theatre, artists’ studios, print shops, coffee houses, bagnios, and houses of ill repute. It was one of the defining spaces of eighteenth-century London, and, as such, it was represented across a range of media in a variety of ways. As well as being the subject of more than twenty paintings and scores of prints, Covent Garden is mentioned in contemporary novels, poems, continental guidebooks to London, and a range of other texts.

With its main focus on the visual, and starting with maps and mapping, this interdisciplinary session will look at a sample of topographical prints, all of which mediate the space in different ways. Through discussion of the images – and in relation to other insights that participants bring to the session – the aim will be to explore some of the ways in which a key metropolitan space was understood and represented through the century.

For further information, please contact Kate Retford: k.retford@bbk.ac.uk

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