Monday, 16 April 2012
Savoy Hotel, Strand WC2
With its gleaming steel and glowing gilding, the statue seems entirely at home on the 1929 Art Deco canopy but it was in fact made in 1904 for the hotel extension seen behind. Reusing it was a brilliant stroke.
Count Peter wasn't a count at all when he came to London in the 1240s. He was the seventh of nine sons of the Count of Savoy so his inheritance prospects cannot have seemed too bright. He was, however, the uncle of Eleanor of Provence, who had just married Henry III. Henry made him Earl of Richmond and gave him the site on the north bank of the Thames where he built the Savoy Palace.
Peter finally became Count of Savoy in 1263, when he was already 60 years old.
Frank Lynn-Jenkins carved one of the statues on the facade of the Victoria and Albert Museum and Abundance, a group on Thames House in the City. He left for America in 1919 after a furious row with Cardiff council over the commissioning of sculpture for the new City Hall.