The much loved Swansea market is one of the iconic features of the city. Having been situated on its present site since 1830 it was badly damaged in the Blitz of 1941. Swansea born artist Will Evans (1888-1957) has depicted the grand main entrance, opposite Portland Street, giving the illusion that the market was intact but in reality the enormous roof was completely destroyed. It is rather a strange, colourful painting in that the viewer can see the rubble in the street but the scene is bathed in an almost Mediterranean light.
The artist appears to have been interested in the shapes of the fallen debris, giving the picture a partial abstract quality. Desolation is not conveyed here but almost a sense of defiance and somewhat oddly, a feeling of resilience that despite the damage the Luftwaffe has inflicted the spirit of the market remains intact which, indeed, it did for the market as we know it today was rebuilt in 1961. It has
remained a central feature at the heart of Swansea life to this day, a symbol of community, and now encompasses a myriad of businesses offering both local and international food and a wide variety of goods. Now the largest indoor market in Wales, it also about to undergo further improvements that will include a multipurpose communal area. Will Evans’s almost prophetic painting is a testament to the spirit of the people of Swansea and their resilience in overcoming dark times.
Barry Plummer, 2020