Thursday, 18 March 2010

Hotel Russell, Russell Square WC1

The monstrous Hotel Russell was built in 1898 by the Russell estate's architect Charles Fitzroy Doll, who went in for Doulton's terracotta in a big, big way. The facade is covered with ornament from basement to the mass of gables on the eighth floor. It is too overpoweringly Victorian for my taste, but it has some interesting figures by two of my favourite sculptors, H.C. Fehr and W.J. Neatby.
Neatby contributed the Renaissance warriors on the gables, their greaves embossed with grotesque heads that look rather livelier than the men. They are done in typically spiky Neatby style, although he has clearly been held back from expressing his usual Art Nouveau tendencies. He also made the coats of arms of all nations that stud the front, presumably intended to make the tourists welcome. I will post Fehr's Queens and PMs tomorrow.

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