Antique Sculptures

26 April 2016

A large collection of architectural sculptures removed from Number 1 New Change, The Cheapside, City of London, the previous Annexe of the Bank of England.

Circa 1957 – 1959.

In these times of ‘credit crunch’ and hostility towards banks and bankers a major collection of Architectural Statuary acquired recently by Westland from the Bank of England, City of London, evoke a period when the world of finance could inspire national pride and global respect.

Illustrated are examples from this collection of carved Portland stone architectural high relief sculpture, designed to decorate the exterior & interior courtyard of New Change buildings opposite the baroque splendour of Sir Christopher Wren’s St Paul’s cathedral and completed in 1960 by post-war architect, Victor Heal. This understated complex of red-brick office buildings, which housed the Accounts department of the Bank of England, was demolished in 2007 to make way for the less modest, 21st century, glittering shopping centre by French architect, Jean Nouvel.

" I PROMISE TO PAY THE BEARER..."....IDEALISM , CAPITAL GAIN AND " BROAD SUNLIT UPLANDS" ..W.S.Churchill. Bank of England Sculptures: Illustrated are some examples from a major collection of carved Portland stone architectural high relief sculptures recently acquired from the Bank of England Annexe in the City of London. Installed in the 1950's and carved in the Art Deco & Baroque manner by sculptors: Sir Charles Wheeler, President of the Royal Academy, Donald Gilbert, Esmond Burton and others. The antique sculptures represent and symbolise the 17th century founding, majesty, abundance and the dynamic spirit of Credit and Trust around the World aspired to by the Bank.

10764. THE NEW "OLD LADY OF THREADNEEDLE STREET."
Circa 1957.Sculptor: Sir Charles Thomas Wheeler, President of The Royal Academy, 1956-66.

This is a smaller version of the 1934 Art Deco sculpture which remains over the main entrance of the actual Bank of England, Threadneedle Street: also sculpted by Sir Charles Thomas Wheeler.

The term "The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street" first appeared in print as the caption "Political Ravishment or The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street in danger" to a cartoon published in 1797 by James Gillray. It depicts William Pitt the Younger, the Prime Minister of the day, pretending to woo the Bank, which is personified by an elderly lady wearing a dress of £1 notes seated on a chest of gold...to use banknotes instead of gold. An early example of quantative easing.

10749. A PAIR OF CITY OF LONDON GRYPHONS HOLDING A CARTOUCHE CHARGED WITH THE CITY DAGGER

Sculptor: Esmond Burton circa 1957

Provenance: above the Cheapside entry to the courtyard of the Bank of England Annexe building in the City of London and part of a group symbolising 'The Granting of The Bank of England's Charter'.

The city dagger in the cartouche held by the gryphons forms part of the coat of arms of the City of London. The design combines the emblems of the patron saints of England and London - the cross of St George with the symbol of the martyrdom of Saint Paul. The griffin, griffon, or gryphon is a legendary creature with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. Associated with kingship, griffins are known for guarding treasure and priceless possessions; hence its iconographic value for the City of London.

10739.BANK of ENGLAND STATUARY COLLECTION:
THE FOUNTAIN OF MONEY GUARDED BY LIONS

Sculptor Donald Gilbert. Circa 1957.

Provenance: Our fearsome Bank of England lions guarding a fountain of coins: originally in the South Courtyard of the Annexe.

10737 : MIDAS HOLDING A CORNUCOPIA OF GOLD COINS

Sculptor Esmond Burton. Circa 1957.

Carved in the Greek Revival manner, Midas grasps a frothing cornucopia of gold coins.

Paired with Stock No 10736 above the archway entry to the courtyard on Bread Street of the Bank of England Annexe in the City of London.

10736. ONE OF A PAIR OF LARGE CARVED TABLEAUX FROM THE BANK OF ENGLAND STATUARY COLLECTION:
BACCHUS WITH SATYR.
Sculptor Esmond Burton. Circa 1957.

Originally paired with Stock No 10737 above the entrances on Bread Street of the Bank of England Annexe the Bon Viveur Bacchus, god of wine and pleasure, is accompanied by a satyr offering him a hog’s head feast.

10734.THE BANK OF ENGLAND: A MASSIVE CARVED PORTLAND STONE TABLEAU DEPICTING WILLIAM & MARY (1689-1702) - THE GRANTING OF THE BANK OF ENGLAND'S CHARTER Sculptor Esmond Burton. Circa 1958-59.

William of Orange from The United Dutch Republic, with his wife Queen Mary Stuart , daughter of James II of Scotland & England were " called to the throne " to become joint rulers of England , Wales, Ireland and Scotland, aka Great Britain, later United Kingdom, by Parliament, subsequent to the "Glorious Revolution. Together they ushered in a very progressive period for the nation, its institutions, economics and its democracy. Sited above the Cheapside entry to the courtyard of the One New Change building in the City of London, the frieze symbolises the Granting of The Bank of England's Charter by the monarchs.

The Group included statues of Sir John Houblon the 1st Governor of the Bank (10747), Michael Godfrey the 1st Deputy Governor (10748), two City Gryphons (10746 & 10749) & two monogrammed keystones WMR 1694 & EIIR 1958.

10732. A LARGE CARVED PORTLAND STONE TABLEAU:
THE HEAP OF COINS GUARDED BY LIONS
Sculptor David Evans. Circa 1957.

Sculpted in the Art Deco Egyptian Revival manner, the lions guard a store of British coins - from a farthing decorated with a little wren at the top to the valuable guineas below.
Provenance: Originally one of three sculptures above the Watling Street carriageway to the South Courtyard, flanked by a pair of unicorns on either side, (Stock Nos 10740 & 10741).

10772. One of three keystones of the three London rivers, the Fleet, the Walbrook and
Old Father Thames
Sculptor Sir Charles Wheeler.

Representing the prime River God of the English nation: ' Old Father Thames keeps rolling along, down to the mighty sea’ - Raymond Wallace. The great source of London’s existence, trade and economy, its strategic position has supported human activity from its source to its mouth for thousands of years and as a major highway for international trade through the Port of London.

This keystone was above the central bronze door of the main entrance of One New Change.

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