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Adam Dant’s London Bestiary

April 23, 2014
by the gentle author

Adam Dant has been at work over Easter to create this splendid portfolio of chiaroscuro wood cuts of Ten Creatures of London Legend which make their debut with TAG Fine Arts at the London Original Print Fair that runs at the Royal Academy from tomorrow until Sunday. In the sprit of Hogarth, you can buy a customised woodcut ticket from Adam for £20 and get a chance to win one of two sets of these prints being raffled.

The Vegetable Lamb Of Tartary, Lambeth Palace

This was believed to be a sheep grown on a plant from a melon-like seed. Introduced to England by Sir John Mandeville in the fourteenth century, an example of this legendary zoophyte can be found at Lambeth Palace.

The City Of London Dragon, Chancery Lane

The dragon guards the boundary of the City of London and its design is based upon a seven-foot-high original created by J B Bunning in 1849, upon the roof of the former Coal Exchange in Lower Thames St.

The Werewolf Of London, Guys Hospital

In 1963, Dr John Illis of Guys Hospital wrote a paper On Porphyria & Aetiology  Of Werewolves, arguing that red teeth, photosensitivity and psychosis experienced by those suffering of Porphyria may have been the characteristics that led to them being mistaken for werewolves.

The Enlightenment Merman, British Museum

Part-monkey and part-fish, the Merman was ‘caught’ in Japan in the eighteenth century and given to Queen Victoria’s virtuous grandson Prince Arthur who donated the desiccated creature to the British Museum, where it may be found today in the Enlightenment Gallery.

The Olympic Park Monster Catfish, Stratford

In December 2011, a Canada Goose was dragged beneath the waters of the River Lea by an unseen predator believed to be a Monster Catfish known to locals as ‘Darren.’

The Sheep Having A Monstrous Horn, Royal Society

This animal from Devonshire gained fame in the capital having been presented to the Royal Society on account of a giant twenty-six inch horn which grew from its neck.

Old Martin, Martin Tower At The Tower Of London

Old Martin, the phantom bear of  the Tower of London’s Martin Tower is reported to have scared one unfortunate beefeater to death. A bear by the name of Old Martin was given to George III by the Hudson Bay Company in 1811 when the Tower had its own menagerie.

Spring-Heeled Jack, Bearbinder Rd In Mile End

Numerous sightings of a violent demonic creature with supernatural abilities at jumping terrorised people  in the East End in 1838.

The Phantom Chicken, Pond Sq Highgate

The half-plucked Chicken, which was seen most recently in 1970 by a caressing couple, is said to be the same chicken which Sir Francis Bacon had attempted to pack with ice in 1626 during an early experiment in freezing food that resulted in the philosopher’s death from Pneumonia.

Twelve Foot Fossilised Irish Giant, Broad St Station

Weighing two tons and fifteen hundredweight and standing twelve feet two inches tall, the fossilised ‘Irish Giant’ disappeared from Broad St Station in 1876 after being dug up by a Mr Dyer in County Antrim and toured around Liverpool and Manchester.

Images copyright © Adam Dant

Email to buy a customised woodcut ticket for £20 for a chance to win one of two sets of  woodcut prints of Ten Creatures Of London Legend being raffled.

5 Responses leave one →
  1. April 23, 2014

    Another marvellous suite of prints by Adam. Thank you.

  2. Victoria permalink
    April 24, 2014

    These woodcuts of fabulous beasts in London are just wonderful. I’ve always been one to look for the detail on buildings especially carvings and will look especially for the vegetable lamb next time I’m passing Lambeth Palace. I wonder if this is the only example of such a lamb. Thanks for such an interesting post!

  3. anne howeson permalink
    April 24, 2014

    reading about these monsters has made my day – they are charming
    and somehow sad at the same time.

  4. Jan Hagel permalink
    April 24, 2014

    But: He hasn’t made all this on just one weekend, has he? The prints are fantastic!

  5. Jan Hagel permalink
    April 24, 2014

    Are people who like Adam Dant’s work called “Dantists” then? Sorry. I just HAD to …

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