Friday, 18 June 2010
Central Criminal Court, Old Bailey EC4
The sculptor was Frederick W. Pomeroy, a Londoner had worked closely with the architect Edward Mountford on buildings such as Sheffield Town Hall. The 1905 commission for the Central Criminal Court gave both men the chance to produce one of London's most instantly recognisable images.
Mountford decided at the last moment that Pomeroy's design was too small for the prominent position, and ordered him to make it a good deal bigger. Unfortunately, that meant the structure underneath had to be beefed up at an extra cost of £267 4s 5d, which Mountford had to explain in a letter to the committee in charge of the building.
Pomeroy also had to change his design for the allegorical figures over the main entrance. The original drawings show the figures of Fortitude, Truth and the Recording Angel inside the arched pediment, but the committee wanted the arms of the City of London there so the statues were bumped up to their slightly precarious seat on top.
The Recording Angel is a rather sinister figure writing on a scroll spread over her knees, her face shadowed by a huge cowl. On her left, Fortitude has a sword (for war) and a dove (for peace). To her right, Truth looks in a mirror.