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Fifty People Of East London By Adam Dant

November 29, 2013
by the gentle author

This week, Martin Usborne launches Hoxton Minipress to publish collectable art books about East London and it is my pleasure to preview his second title  – Fifty People of East London by Adam Dant, to which I have contributed a brief introduction that is reprinted below.

Seller of Hair Brooms by William Marshall Craig, Shoreditch 1804

Adam Dant is the latest in a venerable tradition of artists stretching back more than five centuries who have portrayed the infinite variety of human life in our great metropolis in prints, chapbooks, and upon playing cards – creating sets of images commonly known as the “Cries of London,” featuring street traders and hawkers.

Spirited representations of the redoubtable female watercress sellers of Shoreditch abounded throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and in 1804 William Marshall Craig depicted a vendor of brooms struggling heroically beneath the burden of his stock outside St Leonard’s Church, while in 1812 John Thomas Smith drew William Conway of Bethnal Green who walked twenty-five miles every day to sell metal spoons throughout the City.

William Conway, Spoon Seller of Bethnal Green, by John Thomas Smith 1812

Yet for Adam Dant, two hundred years later, the precise nature of commerce undertaken by many of his subjects is less overt, though it is readily apparent that many are on the hustle in some way or other, but I must leave it to you to resolve for yourself the intriguing question of what exactly these Londoners of our own day are selling ….


App Billionaire



Barge Dwelling Fantasist



Countrified Urbanite



Nigerian Shoe Seller



Well Off Art Student



Hoxton Elderly






Flower Market Shopper


Suburban Street Artist


Illustrations copyright @Adam Dant

Archive Images courtesy Bishopsgate Institute

Click here to buy your copy of 50 PEOPLE OF EAST LONDON by Adam Dant direct from Hoxton Minipress


You may also like to take a look at  Adam Dant’s other cartoons

Soerditch by Dant (Chapter One)

Soerditch by Dant (Chapter Two)

Soerditch by Dant (Chapter Three)

Soerditch by Dant (Chapter Four)

Soerditch by Dant (Chapter Five)

Soerditch by Dant (Chapter Six)

And his maps

Map of Hoxton Square

Hackney Treasure Map

Map of the History of Shoreditch

Map of Shoreditch in the Year 3000

Map of Shoreditch as New York

Map of Shoreditch as the Globe

Map of Shoreditch in Dreams

Map of the History of Clerkenwell

Map of the Journey to the Heart of the East End

Map of the History of Rotherhithe

4 Responses leave one →
  1. November 29, 2013

    Great! — Revealing and razor-sharp, no question!

  2. Greg Tingey permalink
    November 29, 2013

    Gotta smile!

  3. nicholas borden permalink
    November 30, 2013

    nice drawings

  4. Ian permalink
    December 2, 2013

    East London fondly re-imagined for Home Counties incomers.

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