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Christopher Brown’s Alphabet of London

March 18, 2012
by the gentle author

Cockney Sparrow

Christopher Brown – the master of the linocut – has created a new Alphabet of London, taking a fresh look at the iconography that characterises our metropolis, yet with one eye upon the venerable precedents too. And it is my pleasure to publish an East London selection of images from the book today. “The pictorial alphabet has always been a great love – it can be anything and everything, ask questions and solve them.” Christopher confessed to me, and his witty, charismatic book of prints will set many puzzling because he has only labelled each one with the first letter of the image depicted. The vibrant contrast of black and white in these splendid cuts recalls the spontaneity of early chapbooks, while the use of flat blocks of colour is reminiscent of the work of the Beggarstaff Brothers in the Edwardian period, and the pervading suave humour is a quality Christopher shares with his former teacher Edward Bawden. Complemented by a memoir of his childhood growing up in London in the sixties, Christopher Brown’s book is a worthy twenty-first century successor to all the gazetteers, panoramas and alphabets of our city that precede it.

Y is for …?

H is for …?

R is for …?

M is for …?

L is for …?

W is for …?

F is for …?

T is for …?

M is for …?

K is for …?

T is for …?

U is for …?

C is for …?

G is for …?

Pictures copyright © Christopher Brown

The Alphabet of London by Christopher Brown published by Merrell is available from all good bookshops

You may also like to read about

The London Alphabet

William Nicholson’s London Types

The Microcosm of London

The Microcosm of London II

5 Responses leave one →
  1. March 18, 2012

    How enchanting. The mindset and the skill both fill me with awe.

  2. March 18, 2012

    Well, I hugely enjoyed that, but I hope there’ll be a few answers provided, because as far as I know, I only ‘got’ R M W T M K T C G, and I expect I’m not correct about even all of these

  3. melbournegirl permalink
    March 18, 2012

    Witty and charismatic – you hit the nail right on the head! Thankyou for sharing this.

  4. March 18, 2012

    Can’t wait to see the whole alphabet! FANTASTIC and inspiring! 🙂

  5. Judy permalink
    March 18, 2012

    Loved it!
    Did anyone else recognize Flannagan & Allen underneath the arches? I actually remember them……..

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