Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Statues in the City

Paternoster (Dame Elisabeth Frink), Paternoster Square
© Teresa Newham 2011

Sometimes changing your regular routine can lead to unexpected discoveries.  I recently took a slightly different route on my way to the office and found myself wandering across Paternoster Square, the other side of St Paul's Cathedral to the way I usually go; in the middle of the square is the most beautiful sculpture by Dame Elisabeth Frink, entitled Paternoster, depicting Our Lord as the Good Shepherd.   Another small detour revealed further treasures  -  the young lovers (a sculpture by Georg Ehrlich) cuddling up to one another in the shadow of the Cathedral itself, and further into the gardens a dramatic representation of Becket  by Bainbridge Copnall.

the UK Firefighters' Memorial, near St Paul's
© Teresa Newham 2011

 It should therefore come as no surprise that the subject I've chosen for June's Photos on the Run  (see separate page on my website) is Statues in the City.  As often with these things, it began with three and is now a series of eight photos.  I couldn't ignore the compelling UK Firefighters' National Memorial, which stands across the road from the South Door of St Paul's;  a magnet for tourists passing on their way to the Millennium Bridge, it eloquently conveys the intensity of their work during the London Blitz, and since - memorial wreaths adorn its base.  And when I venture along Walbrook I see Stephen Melton's life-size, lifelike statue of a yuppie LIFFE Trader.  At the moment he's carefully surrounded by scaffolding due to building works; usually he's lost in a scrum of commuters rushing from Cannon Street station to their offices in the heart of the City.  Once or twice I've almost apologized for bumping into him!   Not far from Walbrook is Whittington Gardens, named after the City's Lord Mayor Dick Whittington, who is buried nearby.  Here I found two Cambellotti sculptures of horsemen, given to the City of London by the Italian President during a state visit in 2005, which I hadn't really noticed before, although I visit the garden frequently. 

the Cordwainer (Alma Boyes), Watling Street
© Teresa Newham 2011

If I walk to the office along Watling Street (reputed to be the oldest street in London), I eventually come to The Cordwainer, a statue by Alma Boyes unveiled in 2002 to mark the 100th Anniversary of the Cordwainer Ward Club.  Cordwainers made shoes or other articles from fine soft leather sourced from Cordoba, in Spain - hence the name.   A famous cordwainer can be found round the corner in Cheapside - Captain John Smith, who set up a colony in America in the early 17th Century.  The statue is a copy of an original by the American sculptor William Couper which stands in Jamestown, Virginia.   I must have walked past him a dozen times, and only saw him when I started really looking!

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating! I had no idea these were around, or the history behind them (and I never knew what a cordwainer was either!)They're very fine statues - imposing without 'demanding' attention - no wonder it's easy to miss them!