Wednesday 1 June 2011

81 King William Street EC4

Prudence, with her mirror and serpent
Foresight, with a winged herald's staff or kerykeion
The Moscow Narodny Bank was built as the London Life Association in 1925 by W. Curtis Green. It is a standard City Baroque job, designed to emphasise all the virtues of probity, stability and general holiness that the financial sector still holds so dear, and allegories of those virtues are placed on the broken pediments at either end of the building.
The figures are by Herbert Palliser, and, as with his other work of this period, they are a step away from the Edwardians with their bosomy goddesses and muscle-bound heroes.
Unity, with a fasces
Security, with a guardian's spear

The front door is decorated with these playful putti by Charles Hartwell, a sculptor better known for his bronze animals. The boys in the centre hold the seal of the London Life Association, a bucolic scene showing a man in 18th century garb sowing and a cherub reaping at the same time, rather oddly.


Anonymous said...

I follow your blog regularly and with interest even though I do not comment often.

We travel along King William Street and in other places you mention, almost daily, yet you still manage to surprise me by catching things that I have not yet spotted.

You are making good use of that long lens!

I also appreciate the information you give about the various buildings and figures because even when I have seen them myself, I do not necessarily know much about them.

TiaMariaJim said...

Thanks for this information, only noticed these details when passing yesterday and knew they couldn't relate to a Chinese bank!