Tuesday, 29 December 2009

More Mercers' Maidens

The Maidens that mark the properties of the Mercer's Company come in quite a variety of shapes and styles.
In Mercer Street, Covent Garden there are a few, as one might expect, including this one above the doorway to Maidstone House, one of a number of artisans' dwellings built by the Mercers in 1905. She is very Edwardian Baroque, the style Osbert Lancaster called Wrenaissance.

The Mercers also own Barnard's Inn, a former base for lawyers of which the tiny 15th century hall survives, hemmed about by the backs of office blocks. For years it was the Mercers' School until it closed in 1959. It is now a public hall for Gresham College.
The school was rebuilt by Thomas Chatfeild Clarke in 1893 and the whole complex was reconstructed again in 1988 by Green Lloyd Architects in the post-modernist style. They added a thoroughly post-modern maiden in bronze over one of the arches that provide a public passage through the buildings.
The entrance to the Inn is through an arch in Halton House, Holborn, also by Chatfeild Clarke but later (1907).
A Mercers' Maiden looks out over the entrance and another in an aedicule right up at top. This one is a bit cheeky, with flowing locks and an alluring hint of shoulder.

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