Wednesday, 29 July 2009

NatWest Tower, Bishopsgate EC2

The title above is wrong in almost all respects. This post is nothing to do with the NatWest Tower. Which has been renamed Tower 42 anyway. And the original National Provincial Bank was carefully designed to have the front door in high-class Threadneedle Street, like the Bank of England, to avoid having to put a plebean Bishopsgate address on the letterhead.
These are the panels that John Hancock carved on either side of that entrance.
On the left is the Spirit of the Fine Arts, by which Hancock means Engraving, Architecture, Sculpture and Surgical Breast Enhancement - sorry! no! she is definitely Painting.
According to the Victorians, the Fine Arts did not include Music, Photography or (heaven forfend) Performance Art.
On the right, the Angel of Science reveals something divine to an artificer and an engineer. Behind her, an old geezer who may well be Archimedes explains the elements of navigation to a couple of small boys. The Lamp of Reason shines from behind.

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