Monday, 25 January 2010

Norway House, Cockspur Street SW1

When architects Metcalfe and Greig were designing 21-24 Cockspur Street as war broke out in 1914 there was no tenant for the building, so the carving on the front had to be generic Edwardian aspirational rather than illustrating the particular genius of the occupants. Louis Fitz (sic) Roselieb, the son of a sculptor from Hanover who had become a naturalised Briton, was brought in to do the job.
By the end of the War to End War, Roselieb had changed his name to Louis Frederick Roslyn and shortly afterwards the building got a facelift to transform it into Norway House.
Luckily, they left Roslyn's fine work untouched.
From left to right:
Commerce. A naked figure weighs out gold coins, with figures behind presenting goods to exotic foreign monarchs.
Transport. A substantially-built woman holds a steam locomotive, as ocean liners sweep over the waters behind.
Industry. A woman spins, sitting on a stool carved into a sphinx. Behind, a forest of factory chimneys belch smoke.
Communications. Mercury sits on a wall, holding a globe in one hand and his caduceus in the other. Behind, a Greek galley.
I will post the Norwegian alterations later.

4 comments:

Hels said...

"..so the carving on the front had to be generic Edwardian aspirational rather than illustrating the particular genius of the occupants"... very cute writing :)

But that begs a separate question: the carvings look as if they came from a much later period. Did Roselieb know something about Deco sculpture that other people didn't know about for another 10 years?

Or do you think we should start dating Deco as far back as it takes us eg back to 1914?

ChrisP said...

I don't know whether Roselieb would have regarded himself as Deco, more an Arts and Crafts sculptor, but I agree that he is beginning to look that way. He doesn't use the very stylised sunbursts and so on of the true Deco however. An interesting point.

how to ollie said...

Excellent post and writing style. Bookmarked.

Luray va accommodations said...

These are all the great artistic and archaeological grand architecture which are absolutely passionate and marvelous.