Monday, November 04, 2013

Selling vegetables in the Regency

This is sort of a pictorial posting today . . . Looking at some pictures of what a vegetable market would have looked like in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. Old-Covent-Garden-Market,-1825
We can start with this Scharf painting of Covent Garden in 1825.  Covent Garden was the huge central martet of London.  By the Eighteenth Century it was sort of a combination open-air market, red light district, and raffish hang-out, which must have been interesting for everybody concerned. 
Anyhow, glancing at the picture, you'll see if contains all the elements of a fine city vegetable market.
First off, there's protection from the rain, or the occasional sun. Look up at the top of the painting.  These substantial market vendors at Covent Garden have a wooden stall with a fine, permanent substantial roof. Awnings stretch out to shelter their customers. Those are wood frames with cloth stretched across them.Abusivefruitwoman late c18
Here to the right, a simpler shelter covers this fruit seller. She's set up shop under a cloth awning.
Old-Covent-Garden-Market,-1825 detail table Display tables are another most desirable market feature. Tables get the goods up off the ground and present them enticingly.  Apples and green beans are where they can be seen and handled.
To the right, our fruit seller has a simple but permanent-looking and useful bench.
That table in the substantial booth in Covern Garden seems to be long boards set up on a variety of blocks and barrels that probably double as storage.

Read the rest at Word Wenches:  Here.

I'll add one more painting that didn't go into the post at Word Wenchs.  This is just for the blog followers.

Markets continued to sell into the long evening.  When the sun went down, it looks like our sturdy marketfolk kept on selling into the long summer twilight.

If you want to take your folks on a stroll through Covent Garden after the theatre, it need not be deserted.  There'll be somebody there keeping an eye on the booths.  If you want to run your heroine through there in the early morning hours, before dawn, Covent Garden will be a hub of activity, noisy, thronging with people, and reasonably well lit.

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