Monday, 12 January 2009

Portman Mansions W1

Few buildings are more pompous and humourless than the average block of Victorian mansion flats, and at ground level Portman Mansions in Marylebone look just as dull, redbrick and deadening as any. They were built between 1890 and 1900 by Henry Saxon Snell, an architect who usually specialised in workhouses and hospitals.
But look at the skyline and see the lively little monkey that Saxon Snell has placed on the corner of Chiltern Street and Porter Street, gibbering at the dignified line of dragons on the gables over the road.
And at the end of the block, who should be crouching on the party wall but Quasimodo, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, clutching to the parapet with both hands and feet, shouting incomprehensible defiance at the crowd below, who never so much as notice.

4 comments:

CarolineLD said...

Two lovely bits of detail to look out for! I wonder if even the residents notice them.

ChrisP said...

I used to walk down Chiltern Street every day on the way to work many years ago, and I always said hello to the monkey. But I never spotted Quasimodo round the corner until I returned the other day to take the photos.

gigio said...

Hello Chris, we don't know each other but I've been following Ornamental Passions for years, it's a great blog. I looked for your profile to ask a permission: tomorrow I'm publishing a post about Portman Mansions on The LondoNerD, my blog dedicated to London. I visited the place in september but I took my pictures with no zoom, so the monkey and the hunchback are barely visible! Could I borrow your pictures, giving you the credits of course?
Thanks very much, have a good day!
Luigi
http://thelondonerd.com
www.facebook.com/thelondonerd

Chris Partridge said...

Hi Luigi,
Thanks very much and help yourself!
Best
Chris