Wednesday, July 22, 2015

a lion and a unicorn

This is pretty terrific - St George's, Bloomsbury.  I could have sworn, though, that I'd never seen this magnificent lion and unicorn before - how could I have missed them, in all my years in working at the British Library before it moved?

Turned out that I didn't: the church was in disrepair and financial difficulty a long whiles, but in the 2000s obtained (among other funding) money from the World Heritage Foundation, and now it's very striking.  This is a Hawksmoor church, built after the 1711 Act allowed for the building of 50 more London churches, and it's had a veritable history (Anthony Trollope was christened here; Emily Davison, the suffragette who threw herself under the King's horse in the 1913 Derby.  But the Lion and the Unicorn - they (re)arrived in 2006, sculpted by Tim Crawley, after original drawings.

You think you've seen the spire somewhere before?  Yes!  It's in the background to Hogarth's Gin Lane.  Since my current (wonderful) hotel, the Bloomsbury Hotel, has given me a two-for-the-price-of-one card for the bar, Gin Lane my still be alive and kicking in 2015.

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