Nottingham Old Market was a large trade centre of five and a half acres, functioning from the 11th century to 1928 as an essential part of local livelihood. Spooner's painting of the market in the 1920s offers a glimpse of the end of this custom. He creates an atmosphere of dilapidation with a subtly muted palette, while the awning over the fruit stalls is shown to be threadbare and pigeons cluster and swoop to find scraps on the ground. People stand in groups, though their gazes remain disconnected and remote from one another. The unusual vantage point of the composition, placing the viewer behind a column, suggests an inclusive vision of this quotidian existence.
For a further note on Arthur Spooner and Nottingham Old Market, please see lot 44.