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Adam Dant’s Map Of St James’ Sq

October 3, 2018
by the gentle author

Adam Dant introduces his Map of St James’ s Sq, completed this spring just in time for inclusion in his MAPS OF LONDON & BEYOND. An exhibition of Adam’s maps opens at Rich Mix, Bethnal Green Rd, E1 6LA, this Thursday 4th October from 6-8pm and runs until 21st December. All are welcome.

Click image to enlarge and study the details

“Unlike many other public squares in London, St James’s Square is in possession of a certain aloof – an upper crust aura in keeping with the private finance offices and gentlemen’s clubs that hide behind its well attended facades.

Dirty, smelly dogs are no more permitted into the gardens here than they would be in The London Library, The East India Club or the headquarters of British Petroleum – although my own dog is welcomed as a regular visitor at the nearby Christie’s auction house, possibly by dint of his diminutive size, impeccable manners and Scottish heritage.

Whilst sketching from a bench in the square beneath the statue of King William III, I noticed that not very much appeared to be going on in this square. Such an atmosphere of restraint in a public arena prompts all manner of fanciful notions as to the real identities, activities and motivations of passers-by. Much in the same vein as a novel by London Library habitué Grahame Greene, visitors to St James’s square assume the mantle of the Russian spy visiting a dead letterbox, the covert couple conducting an illicit affair or the minor royal jogging incognito. The real action here has to be invented as nobody is giving anything away.

Secrecy is the order of the day at The Royal Institute of International Affairs, better known as Chatham House whose famous ‘Chatham House Rules’ guarantee speakers at their events the requisite anonymity to encourage the sharing of sensitive information. Until recently, the church of Rome managed to keep their ownership of a handsome townhouse in the square under wraps, having purchased it with shady money from Mussolini.

It is in the same spirit that this topographical depiction of the square prompts the viewer to speculate as to the general goings-on among the characters portrayed and animate their stories, according to the roster of St James’s ‘types’ shown around the border.”

Adam Dant

Adam Dant at Rich Mix 4th October – 21st December




Adam Dant’s MAPS OF LONDON & BEYOND is a mighty monograph collecting together all your favourite works by Spitalfields Life‘s cartographer extraordinaire in a beautiful big hardback book.

Including a map of London riots, the locations of early coffee houses and a colourful depiction of slang through the centuries, Adam Dant’s vision of city life and our prevailing obsessions with money, power and the pursuit of pleasure may genuinely be described as ‘Hogarthian.’

Unparalleled in his draughtsmanship and inventiveness, Adam Dant explores the byways of English cultural history in his ingenious drawings, annotated with erudite commentary and offering hours of fascination for the curious.

The book includes an extensive interview with Adam Dant by The Gentle Author.

Adam Dant’s  limited edition prints are available to purchase through TAG Fine Arts

You may like to take a look at some of Adam Dant’s other maps

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

Map of Industrious Shoreditch

5 Responses leave one →
  1. David Tarrant permalink
    October 3, 2018

    I love Adam’s illustration of St James’s Square – a veritable masterpiece!

  2. Amanda permalink
    October 3, 2018

    “…..Although my own dog is welcomed as a regular visitor at the nearby Christie’s auction house, possibly by dint of his diminutive size, impeccable manners and Scottish heritage….”


    As a dog lover, this rang true of my own amazingly well behaved Boxer being lovingly accepted in unusual places, possibly because she was also bi-lingual.
    Her popularity at the Bank, Beauty Salon and top restaurant terraces living in Spain was due to her gentleness and the fact she had picked up and reacted by wiggling to all the Spanish vocabulary pertaining to “beauty.” On overhearing “bonita, guapa, linda, hermosa” she went into raptures.

  3. Helen Breen permalink
    October 3, 2018

    Greetings from Boston,

    GA, I enjoyed studying Adam Dant’s fanciful and rich rendering of St. James Square. So posh, but the artist makes it so accessible. Someday I would like to venture into two particular enclaves – the London Library and Chatham House.

    Maybe next time in London…

  4. Vicky Stewart permalink
    October 3, 2018

    Another great laugh from Adam.

  5. Jennifer Newbold permalink
    October 3, 2018

    I got a great giggle out of this. I haven’t seen St. James’ Square in over 20 years, and it wasn’t nearly this entertaining when I was there! Thank you for sharing Mr. Adam Dant’s buoyant vision.

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