Sunday, 23 May 2010

Asia House, Lime Street

In the heart of the financial district and just a few steps from Lloyd's, it's unsurprising that this office building is full of insurance and finance firms. However, at the entrance are two figures which illustrate not those concerns but rather the building's name, Asia House.

Its architect, George Val Myer, is better known for his later Art Deco-influenced buildings such as the BBC's Broadcasting House in Portland Place and the Halifax building on the Strand. This earlier commission was built in 1912-13, when Val Myer was just turning thirty.

Its facade is of Doulton Carraraware, long a popular building material. The stoneware was covered with a matt enamel glaze which imitated white marble. Doulton developed it in the late 1880s, and although it is most associated with this ivory shade other colours were later produced. (There's a stunning example in Bristol.)

These reliefs were the work of John Broad, a Doulton employee who specialised in sculpting figures. His larger works include Queen Victoria and the India group on the Doulton Fountain in Glasgow.

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