Friday 30 October 2009

London Underground, 55 Broadway SW1

Henry Moore contributed the West Wind on the north face of the east wing of 55 Broadway. It is the softest, most lyrical of all the figures, the least Art Deco and possibly the one that looks most to the future. But perhaps Moore was in a romantic mood - he was courting his future wife Irina at the time, and one of their first dates was to take her up the scaffolding to watch him carving it.
The East Wind on the south face of the west wing (confused yet?) is by Allan Wyon, a member of one of those families of sculptors that were such a feature of the 19th and 20th centuries. Wyon's father, grandfather and greatgrandfather had all been Engraver of Seals to the Monarch, and he followed in their footsteps but rather than take up the office took holy orders and spent the last decades of his life as vicar of Newlyn in Cornwall.
His East Wind is a dynamic figure of a man riding the rays of the rising sun, squeezing a balloon from which the wind is spreading over the earth.

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