Monday 23 May 2011

6-7 St George Street W1

Sotheby's St George Street gallery was originally built for some other purpose in 1904 by C.H. Worley. It has a pair of interesting and attractive bronze figures over the front entrance signed by Fritz Roselieb, the sculptor who changed his name to Louis Roslyn when he joined the Royal Flying Corps in WW1.
It was common for warriors with German names to change them, partly as a statement of patriotism but also for fear that if captured they would be taken for traitors and shot.
This was particularly true of airmen who stood a good chance of crashing behind enemy lines.
Roslieb's figures seem to represent Ferdinand and Isabella considering the conquest of the world, though I could well be wrong, especially as Ferdinand is usually portrayed clean-shaven.
Isabella examines what looks like an atlas while Ferdinand stares moodily at a globe, one foot resting on a couple of books.
Why Ferdinand and Isabella? Does anyone know the original purpose or owner of the building?

1 comment:

Hels said...

I came across Louis Roslyn (1878–1934) while examining war memorials built across the entire British Empire from 1919 on.

There seem to be lots of figurative statues that Roslyn created during the 1920s – soldiers, nurses, angels etc. These were more traditional and perhaps more old fashioned than other sculptors who were choosing more geometric, less figurative and more Deco taste, to remember the fallen. But then Roslyn was a middle aged man by 1919; he had trained in a different era.

And even more so in 1904. Ferdinand and Isabella are interesting suggestions, but like you, I would like to know who would have chosen those Spanish royals for the front of the building.