Monday, 18 January 2016

193 Fleet Street EC4

George Attenborough and Son is one of the very few premises in London still bearing the name of the business that built it. It was erected in 1883 to the designs of Archer and Green, and is covered with sculpture by Houghton of Great Portland Street.
The main event, however, is the statue of Kaled, or Lara's Page, It is by Giuseppe Grandi, dating from 1872. Attenborough had a niche created specially for it over the front door of his shop.
Kaled is the page of Count Lara in Bryon's poetic story of a nobleman who returns to his ancestral lands to restore justice. He antagonises the neighbouring chieftains who attack and kill him. Kaled stays with his master to the end, when it is revealed he is in fact a woman. She goes mad.
The centre of the curved facade is marked with a couple of rather jolly winged lions holding a wrought iron structure that originally supported the three golden balls denoting Attenborough's other business as a pawnbroker. The motto beneath is the pawnbrokers' motto 'Sub Hoc [signo] floresco' - 'Under this sign I flourish'.
The windows below the lions are embellished with typically Victorian allegorical ladies representing the Arts and Trades, including painting, literature, spinning and beekeeping. One of them holds a caduceus in one hand and a cornucopia in the other, which mixes the messages rather.
The Chancery Lane windows have roundels depicting heroes of art from Michelangelo to Flaxman.
And for typografans, the lintels of the second storey windows have a florid decorated initial:


Baldwin said...

Nice post and photographs; thanks for providing all this detail. Love the roundels and the initial A. You can read more about the Attenboroughs themselves here:

Judy said...

Thanks so much for bringing my holiday snaps to life. A lot of my photos have been snapped from the hop on/off buses and finding their "story" on your website, has been most enjoyable and informative as I relive my holiday.