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Adam Dant’s Map Of Iconoclastic London

September 8, 2020
by the gentle author

In these strange days, Contributing Cartographer Adam Dant has drawn a map of iconoclastic London to remind us all that this is a city which has always been in a state of flux

Click map to enlarge


‘Whether due to conquest, protest, dogma, lunacy, obsession, righteous anger, prurience – or just because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time – London’s statuary, monuments and works of art have often found themselves the subject of all manner of deliberate, destructive actions.

Even my depiction of ‘Iconoclastic London’ has been the target of a wanton map-tearer who has peeled back the fabric of my chart to reveal London’s various encounters with iconoclasts, in just the same way that acts of destruction are often recognised as a liberating deeds deployed to reveal truth and expose stagnant or corrupt belief systems.

Who knows what it was about Frank Dobson’s sculpture, ‘Woman with Fish’ on Cambridge Heath Rd, that made it the target for acts of vandalism ? Or why the figure of a woman from 1797 above the entrance to the former Huguenot Soup Kitchen in Brick Lane was chipped off with a chisel ? In 1769, when a sailor attacked the statue of Queen Anne outside St Paul’s Cathedral he was simply whisked off to the madhouse.

A story discovered too late for inclusion on map is that of the Match Girls who in 1888 went on strike over poor pay and exploitative working conditions at Bryant & May. Each year, their descendants paint the hands red of the statue of Gladstone in Bow as an act of perpetual iconoclasm. As long he is there and they continue to do so, we will know why.’

Adam Dant’s Iconoclastic London Map was commissioned by The Critic





Adam Dant’s MAPS OF LONDON & BEYOND is a mighty monograph collecting together all your favourite works by Spitalfields Life‘s Contributing Cartographer 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 London’s 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 including the ICONOCLASTIC LONDON MAP are available to purchase through TAG Fine Arts

5 Responses leave one →
  1. Amanda Schiff permalink
    September 8, 2020

    Another brilliant and witty map of alternative London history from Adam Dant. However, pedant that I am, I noticed that he has credited Neil Simmons as the iconoclast who decapitated the Thatcher statute when he was in fact the sculptor commissioned to create it. I only know this because he’s a friend of a friend.

  2. Akkers permalink
    September 8, 2020

    Welcome back from your holiday Gentle Author. Thanks for letting us see another great map from Adam Dant. I’m looking forward to looking at it in more detail once I have finished work this evening.

  3. Adam dant permalink
    September 8, 2020

    Thanks Amanda, I’ll amend to make sure the right ‘wrong’ guy is wielding the bat!

  4. September 8, 2020

    Absolutely fascinating, witty and informative, thank you for sharing this Adam.
    Am just having another even closer look with my evening G&T!

  5. September 9, 2020

    Thank you for mentioning the woman and fish statue! We have a local campaign to try and bring it back:

    I always do wonder why people felt the need to destroy such a lovely piece of art in the first place?

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