Wednesday, 13 May 2009

New Adelphi WC2

The front entrance of the ghastly New Adelphi is flanked by a pair of bas reliefs by Newbury Trent, a sculptor who had twin lines of business doing angels for war memorials and carvings for Odeon cinemas.
The panels are action packed maritime scenes. On the left, shipwrights refit a sailing ship. Men climb the rigging, hauling spars into position. On deck, coopers repair barrels. The end of one of them is a convenient place for Trent to sign his name with the date - 1938.

On the right is a confusion of small boats and swimmers. At the top, a rower pulls on his oars while a swimmer holds on to the gunwale of the boat. Below, a man dives into the water as another throws a life preserver in. In what is presumably a larger vessel at the bottom, sailors haul on ropes.

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