St Mungo, Atlantes and reliefs, Glasgow

St Mungo, Atlantes and reliefs by Sir George Frampton (1860-1928), and William Shirreffs as stone-carver. 1894-9. Yellow sandstone; bronze crozier; gilding. Trustee Savings Bank, Ingram Street, Glasgow. Text and photograph 2006 by Jacqueline Banerjee. [This image may be used without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose.]

This architectural sculpture is on the façade of a bank (itself an interesting "Beaux Arts interpretation of the Roman Baroque style") and is treated "as a genuinely organic extension of the architecture rather than as applied decoration" (McKenzie 208). Above the central doorway, the most striking figure is St Mungo, the patron saint of Glasgow, whose elaborately designed crozier takes its bell and fish motifs from the Glasgow arms. Cf. Frampton's St Mungo as Patron of the Arts, a 36" bronze group housed in the Glasgow Art Gallery; and his design for just such a pastoral staff illustrated in The Studio .

On either side of St Mungo are reliefs of female figures. The one on the right is picking fruit, and has corn sheaves behind her, and the one on the left is at her spinning wheel, and has bales of material by her feet. These clearly suggest agriculture and industry, making a partial contrast with John Mossman's figures of Industry and Trade outside the Clydesdale Bank in Glasgow. Beyond these figures, supporting the upper part of the doorcase, are two powerful-looking and well differentiated crouching Atlantes. Notice the different positions of their hands, and the different ways they crouch. The whole composition is very striking.

Reference

McKenzie, Ray, with contributions by Gary Nisbet. Public Sculpture of Glasgow. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2002.


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Last modified 15 October 2009