Thursday, 21 May 2009

30 Old Bond Street, W1

Nobody seems to know who designed this typically Victorian iron-framed shop. It
features an aedicule (Latin for 'little house') over the shop front, with classical goddesses in the spandrels of the arched window.
The one on the left seems to be Athena, with her lamp of wisdom and holding the winged figure of Nike (Victory) in her hand. Usually, she is shown holding Nike in her hand like a symbol of queenly authority, such as an orb, but here she is dandling her on her knee like a mother with her child. Nike offers her a globe with outstretched arms - arms so long her knuckles would drag along the ground if she had to walk rather than fly.
The figure on the right may be Clio, the muse of history, indicated by the rather unwieldy scroll she is brandishing. She also has an painter's palette, so perhaps she is intended as an all-purpose muse for all the arts.

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