Thursday, 2 April 2009

Wandsworth Town Hall, SW18

We reach Clapham, part of the LCC borough but now mainly in Lambeth. It doesn't seem to fit here, somehow - the figures are rather superior and there are no workmen except for the compulsory comedy cavemen about to disembowel a deer on the right.
To their left, Osgood Clapa, who holds the manor that bears his name from King Canute, accepts homage from a villein or possibly a churl.
Two unidentified saints represent's Clapham's 'religious zeal and fervour', following Geoffrey de Mandeville, one of William the Conqueror's henchmen who was given Clapham as well as most of Essex for his services.
Then comes John Arthur, a puritan divine.
Two personal heroes of mine come next: Samuel Pepys, who retired to Clapham and is surrounded by items showing his continuing interest in books, ships and girls. Across the table from the diarist is the great scientist Henry Cavendish, shown with a globe to indicate that he 'weighed the earth'.
William Wilberforce and the historian Lord Macauley, son of Wilberforce's friend and fellow-member of the Clapham Sect, Zachary Macaulay, stand before a coach being driven along the Kingston Road.
And finally, Tom Hood the poet sits beneath a tree dreaming of Faithless Nelly Gray, or possibly of Faithless Sally Brown.

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