Think London’s animal kingdom is limited to foxes and pigeons, with the occasional parakeet thrown in? Think again — this delightful Animals Of London map shows the true extent of the capital’s wild side.
The work is by artist and graphic designer Dex, co-founder of design agency Run For The Hills. His past cartographic renderings of the capital have included several takes on literary London, and his Central London Film Map featured in our book, Londonist Mapped.
This time round, he’s focusing on London’s furry and feathered residents, taking inspiration from fiction, films, pub names, historic events, art installations and London landmarks — and it has the added bonus of raising money for charity, as 20% of each copy purchased goes to the excellent London Wildlife Trust.
Fans of children’s literature will be familiar with Nana Darling, the St Bernard dog from Peter Pan whose silhouette can be seen in Kensington Gardens, and Paddington Bear, who dons his iconic hat in his namesake station. Beatrix Potter’s use of Brompton Cemetery as inspiration for her character names makes an appearance, as does Winnie the Pooh (London Zoo).
Famous pets to make the cut include the Queen’s corgis, Christian the King’s Road lion, and Nipper the HMV mascot. But for us, it’s the historical incidents referenced — from Battersea’s Brown Dog Affair, to London Zoo residents and escapees, to Charles Jamrach’s exotic animal trade — that complete the map.
So detailed is the work, we could wax lyrical for hours about it, and still miss parts.
As is often the way with time-consuming works of art, parts of the map are already outdated — the Natural History Museum’s Dippy the dinosaur has been ousted in favour of a blue whale, and the flamingoes of the now-defunct Kensington Roof Gardens are no longer in residence. But this does nothing to detract from the charm of the map, nor the historic and cultural wisdom it holds. It’s a real beauty, and we suggest you make room for one on your wall, pronto.
Buy your copy and browse the rest of Dex’s work on his website.
Last Updated 17 August 2020