Monday, 16 April 2012

Savoy Hotel, Strand WC2

The hoardings have come down on the Savoy to reveal the newly cleaned statue of Peter II, Count of Savoy, by Frank Lynn-Jenkins.
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.


Mandy Southgate said...

I love your first photo. I guess that it would have had far more angles and straight lines if the statue was Art Deco. I had to read your last paragraph twice. At first I thought you meant the Count left for America in a huff.

columnist said...

By chance I was just watching a programme last night here in Bangkok about the refurbishment of the Savoy, which overran in time (by 2 years), and money by about GBP120m, more than doubling the GBP100m budget originally allocated. I wonder if it was worth it. Your piece about the statue above it is very much appreciated.

Ron Combo said...

I was married in the Queen's Chapel of the Savoy, just around the back of the hotel. Near the bins.

vivien y said...

Public art with Welsh connections seems to provoke controversy - look at the Brangwyn panels!(And the original design for the Welsh Assembly, come to think of it)

l-o-v-e-l-y-v-i-n-t-a-g-e said...

Is it the same metal canopy made in 1929 from the stainless steel which was first invented in Sheffield?