Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Royal Society of Arts, Durham House Street WC2

This elegant facade peeps through a gap in the buildings on the south side of the Strand. It is easy to assume that it is by the Adam brothers, because it is the rear of their building for the Royal Society of Arts in the Adelphi.
But it was designed in as late as 1926 by Maurice Webb, the son of Sir Aston Webb who was famous as the architect of the V&A, Admiralty Arch and the main facade of Buckingham Palace.
The statue of the generously-hipped Greek lady with an urn on her head is by Walter Gilbert, cousin of Sir Alfred Gilbert (famous for Eros) and father of Donald (who later did a big figure on the New Adelphi).
Walter Gilbert founded the Bromsgrove Guild of Decorative Arts and was responsible for the ornate metal gates on Aston Webb's Buck House scheme. Later he set up a workshop in Birmingham with Louis Weingartner, bashing out garden sculpture and war memorials.
The plaques below show jolly naked infants playing the harp, painting and studying a scroll, presumably revising for their RSA qualifications.They were supplied by the architectural sculptors EJ & AT Bradford.


Capability Bowes said...

Please can we debunk this myth that the Statue in Picadilly Circus is called "Eros". It only this in the popular imagination. It forms the pinnacle of the Shaftesbury Memorial dedicated to Lord Shaftesbury, noted Edwardian philanthropist. The statue is correctly called "Charity sending help, swift as an arrow's flight"

Chris Partridge said...

I admit it, I'm too lazy to type the full title and Eros is much snappier. I couldn't be arsed with the full "Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce" either.

Capability Bowes said...

Such low standards. You should be an MP!

Brian Barghout said...

I agree with ChrisP, the full "Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce" is a bit too much, and I've taken to abrevaiting it to "Royal Society of Arts"

Brian Barghout FRSA