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Statues - Hither & Thither

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Reading
Berkshire

South East England

Blagrave Street / Valpy Street
(Reading Art Gallery - now Town Hall)

Britons and Romans, Literature and Science

William Charles May
1897

Reading /  Britons and Romans, Literature and Science   Reading /  Britons and Romans, Literature and Science

Description

The Art Gallery - now part of the Town Hall - on the corner of the Blagrave and Valpy Streets was built in 1897 after designs of the local architect W.R. Howell. At the corner is a terracotta frieze made by Reading brick makers S. & E. Colliers and sculpted by William Charles May showing scenes from British history. Panel 1, Ancient Britons, and 2 Roman arts and industries, represent the museum branch of the building; the third and fourth panels are devoted to literature and science.

Reading - Britons and Romans, Literature and Science
Panel 1, Ancient Britons: a blacksmith, a hunter and warrior with a bulldog, one making flintknapper, and Druid.
Reading - Britons and Romans, Literature and Science
Panel 2, Roman Arts and Industries: a blacksmith workshop; a potters workshop; a painter, an architectural mason carving a capital, and sculptor working on a figure called "A dream of immortality."
Reading - Britons and Romans, Literature and Science
Panel 3, Literature: represented by, from left to right, Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892), William Shakespeare (1564-1616) (sitting), Robert Burns (1759-1796), Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1343-1400) (all three in the background), Homer (sitting), Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) (background), John Milton (1608-1674) (sitting) and behind him his daughter, and at the extreme right the winged 'Genius of Literature'.
Reading - Britons and Romans, Literature and Science Reading - Britons and Romans, Literature and Science
Panel 4, Science; the inventor Hiram Stevens Maxim (1840-1916) with a drawing of his gun, female figures symbolizing ?? and electricity, the polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen with a globe and a map, and at the extre right Thomas Edison (1847-1931) with telephone (partly hidden by the octagonal porch).

Signature

(panel 1) W. Charles May Sc 1897; (panel 2) W. Charles May

Sculptor

Sources & Information

Tags

  • Druid
  • Edison, Thomas
  • Electricity
  • Explorer
  • Flintknapper
  • Homer
  • Inventor
  • Literature
  • Mason
  • Maxim, Hiram Stevens
  • May, William Charles
  • Nansen, Fridtjof
  • Painter
  • Potter
  • Sculptor
  • Shakespeare, William
  • Smith
  • Tennyson, Alfred
  • Writer / poet
  • Location (N 51°27'25" - W 0°58'12")

    Item Code: gbse190; Photograph: 20 March 2019
    Of each statue we made photos from various angles and also detail photos of the various texts.
    If you want to use photos, please contact us via the contact form (in Dutch, English or German).
    © Website and photos: René & Peter van der Krogt