Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Unilever House, Victoria Embankment EC4

The stately classicism of Unilever House at one end of the Victoria Embankment stands in stark constrast to the flashy Art Deco of the New Adelphi at the other. But they were both built in the early 1930s and employed two of the leading sculptors of the period: Sir William Reid Dick and Gilbert Ledward.Reid Dick contributed a collosal shire horse standing at each end of the building as though about to pull it apart, were it not for the efforts of their handlers who are keeping them on a very short rein. They are called Controlled Energy.The keystones of the doors below are decorated with merfolk carved by Ledward, a mermaid with flowing hair and a merman with a net full of fish.


Marie said...

really love the sculptures but so many people dont even look at the sculpture. this is something i cant understand.

Fearless said...

The model for the female sculpture was my aunt, Vera Ferguson. Her father was a friend of William Reid Dick and a fellow-Scotsman. When I was younger she had photos of herself posing for the photo session, which was pretty risqué back in the day! She also had a miniature of the sculpture, given to her by the sculptor. Sadly the photos have long since gone missing. The facial likeness, as I remember her, is perfect. If anyone is interested contact me:

Chris Partridge said...

Very interesting - thank you very much for the information. I will add it to the main post in due course.

Angus Crutchfield said...

Hi Chris
You may be interested to learn that it was my uncle, Jack Crutchfield, b 1909, who posed for the male statue on the offside of the stallion referred to above by Phil Graham. Jack (b. John Robert) and my father, Kenneth Crutchfield, b 1901 were both born in London but spent as much time in the countryside as possible and both worked with horses. Kenneth modelled for Charles Sargent JAGGER and Hermon CAWTHRA in the 1920s and early 30's and we know that Reid - Dick finished a piece of Jagger's work still in progress at the time of his death. Models used to get recommended by sculptors and I'm sure that this was the case here. I can well see the resemblance between my uncle and the finished piece. If you would like further info do feel free to get back to me.
Angus Crutchfield