Monday, 27 October 2008

Candover Street, W1

Some of the best Art Nouveau architecture in London is by Herbert Fuller-Clark, including the amazing Black Friar pub in the City and this charming group of apartments round the back of the huge hole in the ground that used to be the Middlesex Hospital.
They were built in 1903, just before Fuller-Clark started work on the Black Friar.
Everyone notices the huge mosaics advertising a firm of heating and ventilation engineers called T.J. Boulting & Sons, leading to the immediate assumption that this was their 'Range and Stove Manufactory'. But as Philip Wilkinson at English Buildings points out, the upper floors are clearly all flats. There is a big Tudorish mullion-and-transom window in ground floor on Riding House Street, indicating that it might have been Boulting's showroom. I suspect the manufactory itself was in Birmingham.
The composition is lively and fluid, and as with the Black Friar there is some delicious ornament.
The gable at the top and the date stone feature lovely winged angel heads, and the mosaic over the front door is flanked by, on the left, a gruesome goblin sticking his tongue out at customers as they come in, and, on the right, a pair of lions wrestling in a flower.

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