Friday, 11 April 2008

14th March 2008 - Stoned Part I - Statues and Monuments north of High Holborn

Now for this week's walk - 'Stoned!' or Monuments & Statues Part I - North of High Holborn

We started our walk as usual at Holborn Tube Station, with our guide Aly.

Our first two statues I have to admit I had never noticed - but thankfully I was not alone in that! The reason being they are perched up high above High Holborn on Kingsgate House. The statues were commissioned for the opening of Kingsway in 1905 and are by Richard Garbe (1876-1957). (See HERE for a biography)

The statues are both of Edwards - Edward I to the left and Edward VII to the right.

Edward I (1239-1307) or Longshanks as he was often called, reigned between 1272 and 1307. He conquered Wales and tried (and failed) to conquer Scotland although he was also called The Hammer of the Scots and ordered the disembowelling of William Wallace (also known as Braveheart). He also ordered the expulsion of Jews from England. See HERE for a more detailed history of Edward I.

Our next stop was at the site of two pieces of work by Peter Randall Page in Bury Place. The first, a statue called 'Beneath the Skin', is made from Kilkenny Limestone. The second, a frieze in two parts called 'Chain of Events'. It is made from Portland stone and black African granite.

Beneath The Skin

Chain of Events

Peter Randall Page was born in 1954 and attended Bath Academy of Arts - he has exhibited world wide.

We know come to another statue by Richard Garbe - of John Bunyan (1628-1688) (More information on Bunyan HERE)

Bunyan was a Christian write and preacher whose most famous work was The Pilgrim's Progress and after the Bible was the second most translated work by missionaries when they travelled abroad. The statue was made in 1903 and stands in a niche above the entrance of a former Baptist church, now closed.

If you look carefully, you can still see the words Baptist Church on the while stone beneath the statue.

Next stop Red Lion Square, where we saw firstly a statue of Fenner Brockway (1888-1988) who became Baron Brockway of Eton and Slough. He was a member of the Independent Labour Party and was imprisoned in various gaols including Pentonville, the Tower of London and a dungeon at Dover Castle for his protests against the first world war. He did in fact suspend his oppostion during the second world war. He was a founder member of CND and one of four original members of War on Want. The statue, in bronze, erected by the Greater London Council was made by Ian Walters b1930 who is also famous for statues of other political figures. Most famously, he carved the clay sculpture of Nelson Mandela, but died in 2006 so never lived to see his work cast in bronze and unveiled in Parliament Square. See HERE for more details on Ian Walters and the Mandela statue.

At the other end of the Square is the bust of Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) another famous pacifist also imprisoned for his views during WW1. He was the founding President of CND and a noted mathematician although one of his more famous (or should that be infamous) written works 'A Marriage and Morals' pub.1929 encouraged behaviour frowned upon at the time, such as sex before marriage and open marriage. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950. See HERE for more details on Russell. The statue is by Marcelle Quinton

Fenner Brockway

Bertrand Russell

Finally we returned to High Holborn to a sculture commissioned specifically for Brackton House - 'The Tennis Player' by Eduardo Paolozzi. Paolozzi was born in 1924 in Edinburgh of Italian descent. He was imprisoned at the age of 16 under a detention order during WW2 purely because of his Italian parentage. He become well known for his part in the 'Pop Art' movement during the 1960s and you can see several pieces of his work on display in London, notably the mosaics at Tottenham Court Road Tube station, and the bronze of Sir Issac Newton outside the British Library. He was also responsible for the cover of Paul McCartney's album Red Rose Speedway. Paolozzi was knighted in 1980 and died in 2005. See HERE for more details on his life and work.

The Tennis Player

Well that's all for this week. Part 2 of this walk is after Easter. I hope you have enjoyed it.

1 comment:

skyblupink said...

Thanks so much for helping me identify this statue! I saw it today, and have been searching for who made it - you are way better than Wiki!