Never having knowingly visited Belgrave Square, and not being one to miss an opportunity, I took a quick spin around the block in the closing gloom before making my dazzling entrance at the launch party. There were a couple of interesting items as well, not least of all this water trough at the top of Grosvenor Crescent.
Attached drinking fountain on Knightsbridge façade. Inscribed "MDCCCLX" (1860) on the frieze. Erected by the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle trough Association. Fluted shell basin of carved stone on a rough stone base flanked by stepped plinths surmounted by acanthus leaf consoles carrying a frieze and cornice with scrolled pediment and central finial. One of the earliest drinking fountains erected by the Association, a hospital being seen as an appropriate location. Founded in 1859 The Metropolitan Free Drinking Fountain Association (Cattle Trough added 1867) provided free fresh water to many humans and beasts at a time when ale and spirits were easier to obtain than water and most supplies contaminated.There would originally have been cups attached to chains for the ease of drinkers, but these have long since either been removed or broken off.
Continuing around the square and tucked around the back is the Norwegian Embassy building. Either side of the Front door are these two small but interesting friezes showing cherubs engaged in what I assumed at first must be typically Norwegian activities.
In 1796 these two coade stone reliefs were affixed to the Danish-Norwegian consulate in Wellclose Square Stepney. In 1968 the reliefs were re-erected on this embassy by courtesy of the Greater London CouncilIn know what you're wondering... 'what's coade stone?' Wikipedia has the answer, of course
Coade stone was a ceramic material that has been described as an artificial stone. It was first created by Mrs Eleanor Coade (Elinor Coade, 1733–1821), and sold commercially from 1769 to 1833.So it looks as though the date of 1796 puts it right in the middle of the production period and it's not as if there are lots of them about as there are only about 650 known surviving pieces. Apparently lots of decorative designs were sold 'off the shelf' so there's a good chance that they're generic cherubs and not even been produced with Norway in mind!
Having exhausted the square I finally arrived at the launch party and was very pleased indeed to make the acquaintance (and the re-acquaintance) of several other bloggers, as well as enjoying the speeches and the presentations. Unfortunately I was so eager to get at the wine and crisps that I left my camera in my coat pocket and only managed to get one shot of the event just as I was leaving.
But the evening wasn't yet over. After making my excuses and disappearing silently into the swirling London mist I caught sight of an intriguing coal-hole cover and managed to get a reasonably clear picture. The inscription reads "Luxfer Prisms 46 Hill Street London EC"
And as the light by then had pretty much gone it was a good time to put the camera away carry myself off home. An enjoyable launch and congratulations to Sam once again on all his hard work.