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Birmingham
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Victoria Square
(Council House)

Pediments and Mosaic at the Council House

R. L. Boulton & Sons & Salviati
1879

Birmingham /  Pediments and Mosaic at the Council House

Description

The Council House has four pediments, three facing Victoria Square and one facint Chamberlain Square. The central pediment on Victoria Square is triangular, the other three have a semicircular upper border.
  1. Central pediment: Britannia with her arms outstretched to reward the Manufacturers of Birmingham with laurel wreaths.
    Birmingham - Pediments and Mosaic at the Council House

  2. Right pediment: Commerce and/or Literature: The central figure is an angel holding his hands above two seated figures. The angel is flanked by several figures holding a variety of smaller items, including books, pots, and a board with 14 shallow-cut depressions, perhaps indicative of toymaking, an important Birmingham speciality in earlier times.
    Birmingham - Pediments and Mosaic at the Council House

  3. Right pediment: The Union of the Arts and Sciences: Two seated central figures, the one on the right holds the regulator from a steam engine, in bronze. Together with her companion she holds a palm frond between them, and this other also holds a bust of probably Athena. To the left stand Sculpture, with her mallet, and Painting. The capital of a pillar does duty for Architecture, and Music is the outermost figure, completing the Arts. To the right, the Sciences, with the first standing figure holding an hourglass, though her next companion has lost whatever she was holding. Finally, the girl seated to the right has a sectioned globe, some geometrical diagram, and a heap of books.
    Birmingham - Pediments and Mosaic at the Council House

  4. Chamberlain Square: Manufacture: A seated central figure leans on a mallet. To the left, a standing figure of Gun Manufacture, behind her perhaps Silverware, while the kneeling man at the left hand edge of the group has a variety of pots and tools. On the right, a girl with a spinning wheel, a second with completed cloths, and a man beating something on an anvil.
    Birmingham - Pediments and Mosaic at the Council House

The central pediment was designed by the architect of the building, Yeoville Thomason (1826-1901), and executed by R. L. Boulton & Sons.

Above the entrance is a Mosaic by Salviati Burke and Co. of Venice, 'Britannia rewarding the Birmingham Manufactures' with the central figure of the Municipality of Birmingham handing out scrolls of Stability and Power to the other figures identified in gilded lettering, representing Science, Art, Liberty, Law, Commerce and Industry.

Birmingham - Pediments and Mosaic at the Council House

Sculptors

Sources & Information

Tags

  • Art
  • Birmingham (allegory)
  • Boulton & Sons, R. L.
  • Britannia
  • Industry
  • Law (allegory)
  • Liberty
  • Manufacture
  • Salviati
  • Science (allegorical figure)
  • Trade (allegorical figure)
  • Location (N 52°28'48" - W 1°54'10")

    Item Code: gbwm054; Photograph: 24 June 2014
    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