Friday, January 28, 2011
Regent's Park, London
Say it large
On my way to visit friends near Mornington Crescent the other day, I decided to take a detour around the edge of Regent’s Park and admire some of John Nash’s extraordinary terraces, which, with their plaster decorations, sculpted pediments, and rows and rows of Classical columns, are probably the grandest terraced houses in London.
When I came to Chester Terrace, the longest of them all, I was distracted from the palatial front when I looked at the Corinthian arches at either end. Perhaps appropriately for London’s most grandiose terraced houses, they have what must be the biggest street signs in the capital – huge white capitals on a blue background, picked out in relief. The chunky letters with their extra-large serifs are over the top, dwarfing even the big Corinthian capitals below and looking rather alien – this is not the kind of thing you expect to find in a classical frieze. But if the over the top approach works anywhere, it’s surely here.