Saturday 30 July 2016

London School of Economics Old Building, Clare Market WC2

The Clare Market facade of the LSE's old library was added in 1932 by the architect A.S.G. Butler, best known these days as the author of many books on Lutyen's works. It is decorated by sculpted panels by Edgar Silver Frith, a member of a sculptural dynasty and lecturer at the South London Technical School of Art.
Apparently they represent different modes of thinking, from which we can conclude;
a) Thought hurts;
b) Thought is done exclusively by men.

The Thinking Men are currently obscured by construction so these pictures are provisional.

30 Russell Square WC1

Joseph Priestley sits over the main entrance of Birkbeck College, his head resting in his left hand, examining a huge scroll that drops over this lap down to the floor. Is he boning up on the latest developments in chemistry? or electricity? or theology? or English grammar? Perhaps he is studying one of languages he spoke, including Greek, Latin, Hebrew, French, Italian, German, Arabic and Aramaic? He was a true Renaissance man.
The statue was carved by Gilbert Bayes in 1914 when the building was erected for the Royal Institute of Chemistry, to designs by Sir John Burnet. Priestley is today remembered most for his part in the discovery of oxygen, though he called it 'dephlogisticated air.' reflecting his unyielding attachment to the phlogiston theory that was being debunked at the time by his arch-rival Lavoisier.