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Xanthe Mosley creates a monumental homage to London, in Three Night Markets at City Hall
Market Traders at New Covent Garden Flower Market.

LONDON.- Xanthe Mosley announces her participation in THREE NIGHT MARKETS, a group exhibition at City Hall, London, which runs on weekdays from September 19th to October 16th.

Xanthe’s work is the result of an artist’s residency at Billingsgate, Smithfield and New Covent Garden over the past 2 years. Her large-scale works throw light on a great, undiscovered area of London life and form the backbone of the show on the 2nd floor Chamber Lobby and Café at City Hall.

Striking 1m tall figures, often rendered in Indian ink on paper, are Xanthe’s response to the heft and grind of London’s traders, delivering our food night after night as the city sleeps. She has curated the show herself, and invited artists James Forshall and Susan Henderson to join her. “I’m very grateful to the Mayor’s office for giving us the wonderful opportunity to show this work” she says.

Xanthe arrived in London two years ago after 15 years in Devon. One of the highlights of her work in the West Country was an ongoing commission from the Devon County Show. There she drew at night while farmers worked and slept in the pens with their animals. “I’m fascinated by the effect of work on the human form, especially in unusual circumstances and places, and in unusual light” she says. With an unflinching eye she also recorded the terrible slaughter across the West Country during the Foot and Mouth epidemic of 2001.

Since moving to London in 2012, Xanthe has spent countless nights on the streets as the city’s food arrives and is traded for the day ahead. Observing family bonds of traders down the generations and noting complex relationships was essential before putting pencil to paper. Xanthe’s practice began as a Camberwell College art student, where she made an ongoing study of human skulls at the Royal College of Surgeons Hunterian Museum and the Horniman Museum. Like other artists whose work revolves around the human figure, such as Jenny Saville or the great Lucian Freud, the discipline of life drawing has always been the linchpin of Xanthe’s practice.

She is also an accomplished portrait painter, with commissions to paint figures such as Marina Warner, Mary Wesley, Bel Mooney, Jonathan Dimbleby, and many others. A 100ft mural in pastel hangs in a permanent position at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital – and being visible from the maternity wing, has resulted in an unusual number of children named Xanthe in the Exeter area.

A leading inspiration for Xanthe’s eight large portraits of market traders is Barbara Hepworth’s Hospital Drawings, where surgeons swathed in robes gaze with intense eyes as their hands set to work. Mosley’s market traders echo that intensity - blended with a healthy dose of kickass street humour.

“For me art is about people, and the market world gives me a constantly evolving source to work on! Catching a likeness as it moves and changes is a fascinating process,” she says. “These industrial spaces, by night, are scenes normally hidden from the sleeping city and the everyday world.”

Xanthe hopes to take this exhibition on to other spaces. Meanwhile she will continue to draw London’s markets and record them at a crucial moment in time. “I haven’t run out of steam yet - it would be wonderful to make an illustrated book before these markets go through their next, inevitable changes.”

In the meanwhile she’ll be drawing hands engaged in different kinds of work, both on the street and off.

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