Tuesday 7 June 2011

Howard de Walden Estate Office, 23 Queen Anne Street W1

The Howard de Walden Estate, which owns most of the north part of St Marylebone, moved into purpose built offices in 1937. The architects were Messrs. Joseph, who also designed the Shell Mex building on the Embankment and many synagogues.
The plaque is attributed to William Charles Holland King, a Cheltenham-born sculptor well known for animal bronzes and war memorials, though almost every sculptor working from 1918 onwards did a sadly large number of war memorials. One of his more unusual commissions was a series of miniature sculptures to go on Edwin Lutyens's great model of the proposed Catholic Cathedral in Liverpool, that unfortunately never got above basement level. King later became president of the Royal Society of British Sculptors.
The Estate's archivist and librarian, Richard Bowden, kindly looked up details of the design for me and wrote: "It replaced an older Estate office building on the same site and as photographs of the earlier building show an older plaque commemorating JMW Turner on its facade it seems likely that the new one would have been made soon after the opening of this new office."
It is a simple bas relief of the great man's head, beautifully carved. Such as shame the architect placed it under a balcony so half of it is hidden in shadow.

No comments: