Tuesday 25 October 2011

County Hall, Belvedere Road SE1

The Hero by Cole
The figures on the Belvedere Road facade of County Hall are either side of the fault line between artists, Ernest Cole and Alfred Hardiman.
Town Planning by Hardiman
Cole, the original contractor, was sacked in 1921 for busting deadlines and generally obstreperous behaviour and replaced by Hardiman, just back from studying in Rome where he been deeply impressed by Etruscan art and early Greek sculpture.
Cole's last figure, The Hero or 'Hero Figure' is an archer. As usual, Cole left no explanation of any intended symbolism or message. Presumably he represents society's plans and aims for a better future. His hairstyle and moustache are strangely 1960s.
Hardiman, in contrast, returns to the Victorian tradition of figurative, aspiring sculpture illustrating the work of local authorities. His figure is Town Planning, a strong, determined, far-sighted man holding a giant pair of dividers over an unformed rock, ready to be carved into a new city. It was erected in 1926.

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