Friday 18 November 2011

Doll's house

The Hotel Russell in Bloomsbury is an elaborate late-Victorian structure, full of carved details and decorative flourishes. No excuse is missed for a bit of sculpture or a few reliefs. Perhaps most fanciful of all is the roofline: there are stripy chimneys, turrets worthy of a Disney castle, and of course a few more garlands and warriors.

Charles Fitzroy Doll was the architect responsible for all this exuberance. Although he designed a number of hotels, his most famous (and short-lived) creation is perhaps the Titanic's dining room. While that work is now at the bottom of the ocean, the Hotel Russell's fate is much happier: recently restored, it continues to dominate its square.

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