Friday 9 May 2008

Fox and Anchor, Charterhouse Street

What are these extraordinary creatures, perched on a ledge on the Fox and Anchor in Smithfield as though about to pounce on unsuspecting drinkers at the pavement tables below? They cannot be foxes, surely. They looks more like hellhounds with those pointed ears and gappy mouths.
The facade is high Art Nouveau, designed by W.J. Neatby in 1898, so it is possible they started as foxes and got transmogrified in the interests of Art.
The whole frontage is covered in Doulton faience, a material designed to last for ever and a favourite of Art Nouveau designers. A favourite Art Nouveau motif is the peacock, which makes its appearence just below the hellhounds.

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