Clive Boursnell is a renowned photographer of architecture, gardens, landscapes and, above all, people. He turned to photography as the culmination of a career which included classical ballet and working as a woodsman, a farmhand, a miner and prospector and a mountaineer. London has been the main character in the work of Peter Ackroyd ever since his first novel, The Great Fire of London. His Hawksmoor won the Whitbread and the Guardian Fiction Prize, Chatterton was shortlisted for the Booker, London: the Biography won the South Bank Show Annual Award for Literature. Reviewers commonly categorize him as the Dickens of our day.
Clive Boursnell's photo-essay documents the end of an era and stands as a memorial to a vanished part of London life. Ham & High My heart sank at first. Oh god, not another picture book about a picturesque corner of London, especially over-hyped Covent Garden. Then it leapt right back up. How wrong I was. Very rapidly I became absolutely absorbed. Now I am recommending it effusively to anyone who will listen. This is not only a fascinating book, it is an act of photographic salvage and a very valuable historic record. Design Week What is remarkable about his photographs is that the routine acts of life - the shouting, the smoking, the errands and conversations of the market traders and their customers - are revealed as being full of grace, drama, humour and surprise, as though the Covent Garden street market were a stage and its occupants all actors, orators and dancers. Times The beautiful collection of 300 photos is stunning just on a visual level, but it also celebrates the tight-knit community of Covent Garden, and stands as an archive of a vibrant part of London's history. Times I can recall no other volume that has had such a powerful Proustian effect on me as the new book Covent Garden by Clive Boursnell. I worked on the fringe of the market for some of this period. From the moment I opened the book, I was hurtled - whoosh! - back across the decades. My head filled with the smell - a mixture of ancient cabbage, fresh salad, Players No. 6 and diesel exhaust - of the Piazza. -- Christopher Hirst Independent Magazine