Bas relief of artists and craft workers on the G. E. Street Memorial by H. H. Armstead
Memorial sculpture of G. E. Street

Bas relief of artists and craft workers on the G. E. Street Memorial by H. H. Armstead (1828-1905). 1886. G. E. Street Memorial in the Main (or Great) Hall of the Law Courts. Photograph and text Jacqueline Banerjee. [You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]

This fine example of Armstead's work combines his virtues of monumental impressiveness with human detail (compare the figures on the base here with figures on the podium frieze of the Albert Memorial, on which he had also worked). This combination makes it a striking memorial both to the architect himself and to the craftsmen who worked on the Law Courts — perhaps also to all that we think of as "High Victorian." Among the figures on the frieze are a sculptor sculpting a mother and child, an artist with his palette, women at a tapestry frame, men at an anvil, and a potter. In contrast to the Law Courts themselves, there is an Arts and Crafts feel about the whole endeavour. Particularly striking is the inclusion of women, and even of a very realistically depicted cat (near the stool in the centre). Given the overall program of the frieze, the painter and the woman tapestry worker certainly represent two different kinds of art work, and yet, these two figures at the center of the composition uncannily seem to depict an artist painting the Lady of Shalott in the situation represented by Lizzie Siddal, one of Hunt's early studies, Sidney Meteyard.

The memorial is also a fine example of architectural sculpture, for it was designed for this splendid Gothic setting by Sir Arthur Blomfield, who completed the building after Street's death, together with Street's son, also called Arthur. These kinds of collaborations between architects and sculptors produced some of the best work of the age (such as the Albert Memorial itself), and help to correct the view of rivalry and "battles" in and amongst the different arts, their practitioners and styles.

Related Material

References

"Royal Courts of Justice: Visitors' Guide." Viewed 22 January 2008.

. Read, Benedict. Victorian Sculpture. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1982.


Victorian Web Victorian Sculpture Henry Hugh Armstead

Last modified 23 January 2008