Tuesday 27 March 2012

Atlas House, King Street EC2

In Greek mythology, Atlas, king of Atlantis, took part in the rebellion of the Titans against the Gods and as a result was condemned to hold up the heavens for ever. Ancient Greek sculptors took something of a  liberty with the story in the interests of making a strong free-standing figure, and showed him supporting the celestial sphere on his shoulders.
Of course, this was misinterpreted in the Renaissance, when the familiar figure appeared of Atlas holding the Earth on his shoulders despite having nothing to stand on.
Here, Atlas advertised the Atlas Assurance Company. He was carved by Thomas Tyrrell for the firm of architectural masons Farmer and Brindley. He is less muscly than usual, but still succeeds in dominating that part of the street.
The building is the northern extension of the Atlas headquarters, designed by Alfred Waterhouse in 1893 in the same style as the original building facing onto Cheapside, which was built by Thomas Hopper in 1834. 
Tyrrell also carved the figures on 82 Mortimer Street
On the south side of Cheapside opposite Atlas House, there is an exceptionally attractive Mercers' Maiden high up on the wall of No 67, which dates from 1938.


The Duke of Waltham said...

A beautiful Mercers' Maiden indeed. I've looked at the earlier post to which you link, and the page on Mercers' Maidens to which you link there; that link no longer works, however, and appears to have been superseded by this one. (I'm leaving this comment here mostly because I don't know whether it will be noticed in a post over two years old.)

Chris Partridge said...

Thanks for that, Y'r Grace. I have updated the link.
Yrs grvllingly,