Delve into Jamie Clarke's “Typographic Time Capsule”
By specialising in illustrative type and lettering renowned typophile Jamie Clarke aims to bring words to life and “make them more vivid with imagery and decoration”. Eye-catching typography is his obsession therefore his latest project “Typographic Time Capsule: Exmouth Market Letterpress Print” is a thoughtful trip down Britain’s memory lane.
“Exmouth Market is one of Central London’s hidden gems, packed with independent shops, restaurants, cafés and market stalls” he says. “This snapshot aims to preserve the street’s unique identity by recording each of its present-day ‘establishments of note’ and regular market stalls. It also delves into the location’s shady 400-year history that includes blood sports, a disreputable Victorian tea garden and an atrocious graveyard now buried under the adjacent park.
I delved into its history reading-up on looking through old postal directories, maps and newspaper clippings to build a timeline surrounding the street.
Being located in Clerkenwell, historically the area associated with London’s Type Foundries, it was fitting to tell the story purely using typography and lettering.
To evoke the style of the market, the decorated initials, spelling ‘Exmouth’, have been inspired by the rich assortment of lettering found on the street or designed to represent its past. The ‘E’ features decorative elements that symbolise the market’s watery origins: the ancient spa and the naval officer that Exmouth Market is named after. Other pictograms symbolise the vineyards, duck ponds, Victorian tea gardens and the graveyard. The ‘O’ represents Joseph Grimaldi—father of all modern-day clowns, who lived at № 56. The ‘U’’s floral pattern is inspired by the vine leaf frieze that decorates the church of Our Most Holy Redeemer and the ‘H’ echoes the original butcher’s livery, now maintained by the restaurant Medcalf.
Several of the present-day establishments the print describes have already moved or closed, which I hope means that the print already has some worth as an historical record. Despite its very niche subject matter, the print has sold in unlikely places such as Japan, Norway and Western Australia.
The various illustrated cap references are:
· E: Symbolizes; the market’s watery origins, the date year the street was named, the Vineyards, the duck ponds, Victorian tea gardens and the graveyard.
· M: Referencing the most successful, longstanding restaurant on the street, Moro.
· O: Represents Joseph Grimaldi—father of all modern-day clowns, who lived at № 56.
· U: Floral pattern is inspired by the vine leaf frieze that decorates the church of Our Most Holy Redeemer
· H: Echoes the original butcher’s livery, now maintained by the restaurant Medcalf (now gone).”
Jamie Clarke has just made your day a little prettier.