Mary Queen of Scots House was built in 1905 for a Scottish insurance company. The statue was the idea of one of the developers, Sir John Tollemache Sinclair, Bart, MP, who was a big fan of the ill-fated lady.
The architect was one R.M. Roe, who concocted a facade as frilly as a doily with lashings of French Flamboyant tracery. Sadly, the carver of the statue is unknown.
The image seems to be the only outside memorial of Mary, which lead to recent demands for a statue to be erected in Scotland. Ironically, it stands just along the road from a figure of her nemesis, Elizabeth I.
Friday, 29 November 2013
Sunday, 24 November 2013
The original dog was made of pine with an iron pot. The shop was an ironmonger selling, among other things, kitchen items such as pots, pans and everything needed to build a fire, including cast iron firebacks and the wrought iron supports for the logs, known as fire dogs. So the sign is a bit of a rebus or architectural pun.
The ironmongers also used the design on its range of 'coal plates', the circular cast iron covers for the chutes that punctuated all Victorian pavements, allowing the coal men to pour their loads directly into coal cellars in front of every house.
Tuesday, 19 November 2013
Bagnigge House was next to the "Pinder a Wakefield", a famous inn. A pinder was the keeper of a pound where stray animals were held, and the Pinder of Wakefield was the truculent hero who bested Robin Hood, Will Scarlet and Little John in a sword fight.
The place declined sadly in Victorian times and was built over in the 1850s. The plaque used to stand on a garden entrance.
Thursday, 7 November 2013
In 1810 Miranda returned to Venezuala and became its first revolutionary leader, only to be deposed by a Spanish counter-attack. On his way to be evacuated by a British warship he was handed over to the Spanish authorities by, ironically, Bolivar. Miranda died in prison a few years later.
The statue is a copy of one made in 1895 by the Venezualan sculptor Rafael de la Cova. It was put in position in 1990 after the restoration of the house as a cultural centre.
Saturday, 2 November 2013
Milles worked for a while in the studio of Auguste Rodin. When he left he feared being written-off as a mere imitator of the great man, so he deliberately struck out on his own path to create figures that seem to fly or float, supported by discrete steel pillars.
This one was placed in Thomas More Square when it was built in 1991, unveiled by art collector and modern architecture fan Lord Palumbo.
If you like this charming figure, you can buy an official, 59cm high copy cast in bronze by one of the foundries that Milles himself used, from the Millesgarden, the sculptor's summer home and lifetime project. A bargain at 19,000 krone (£1,850 approx).