Sunday, April 6, 2008

Corn Street, Bristol

Less famous than the cathedral (see previous post), but even more ornate and just as amazing in its way is the former West of England and South West District Bank, now Lloyd's TSB, in Bristol's Corn Street. The picture shows a small section of the upper floor and cornice of this building, built in the 1850s and modelled on St Mark’s Library, Venice. The Italianate proportions (using the plain Doric order on the ground floor, the more elaborate Ionic order above) are impressive. But what really sets this building apart is the carving with which it is smothered. Using pale Portland stone to stand out from the Bath stone of the main structure, sculptor John Evan Thomas let himself go, with the arms and symbols of the towns and cities where the bank had its branches and up in the entablature, a host of putti busy working away as bankers. How unlike the bankers of today these innocent figures seem.

No comments: