Two Lions, Two Unicorns and a Dash of Gin

-Look Up, Look Down Challenge, Week 72

Every Thursday, I publish a post containing photo(s) taken from above or below, and invite you to join in the challenge by posting your own photos with an up or down perspective.

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Keep your eyes raised as you walk the streets of Bloomsbury and you can’t fail to be impressed by this recently renovated extravagance.

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Back in the early eighteenth century there was concern at the increasing number of non-conformist places of worship in England.  To address this perceived imbalance, the Tory government passed an Act of Parliament in 1711 requiring the building of 50 new Church of England churches.

The Act actually resulted in 12 new churches, 6 of which were built by the king of baroque, architect Nicholas Hawksmoor.  This Bloomsbury church, St George’s, is the 6th and probably most idiosynchratic.  It was originally consecrated in 1731 and was much needed in this over-populated area of London, erected as it was between affluent Bloomsbury and the notorious slums, known as the Rookery.  If you take a look at Hogarth’s Gin Lane, painted in 1751, you can see the distinctive spire of St George’s peeping up from the squalor below.

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The 2 lions and 2 unicorns that made this such a distinctive sight, were lost over the years and it wasn’t until the 21st century renovation project that they were returned.

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Each of the four creatures is over 10 feet tall and weighs over 8 tons.  Thanks to contemporary drawings and the work of sculptor Tim Crawley, they now grace the base of the spire once more.

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Nicholas Hawksmoor started as a lowly assistant in the office of Christopher Wren but is now regarded as one of the greatest of all English architects and perhaps the master of English Baroque.  If you would like to learn more about this church and some of his other masterpieces, you can join a tour of five of his churches with Ace Cultural Tours – the next one is on 9 April 2015.

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The Challenge

Click here to enter the challenge

Welcome to week 72 and a huge thank you for last week‘s entries.  My pick this week has to be Jesh’s winter trip to Yosemite – I’ve never been in winter so I was delighted to share in her visit.

All are welcome; do please share your up or down perspective with us.  Simply create your own post as normal, create a link to this challenge and click above to enter your link and view other entries.  If you have any difficulties with the linky, please just leave your link in a comment below and I will upload your thumbnail.

Finally, please don’t forget to go and visit the other challengers and pass on your views and encouragement.

To find out more about how to enter, click here.  The linky list will open each Thursday at 00:01 GMT (or a bit before) and will normally be open for one week.

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 Also linked to Friday Postcards and Travel Photo Mondays.
Updated 18 January 2015.

18 thoughts on “Two Lions, Two Unicorns and a Dash of Gin

  1. Thanks for posting this, Debbie. I used a similar photo I’d done of the spire to illustrate a review of a book by Chesterton, but just couldn’t remember the name of the church, so thanks! Fascinating arcane imagery I thought, with the spire looking like a tall pyramid.

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  2. Thank you Debbie for mentioning my up-Down view of last week:) (late response, because I was painting…). Beautiful sculptures – and big! What a different time that there was a need for building because of the concern about “nonconformist churches.” Now we have “online churches”:)

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  3. I like how the gold unicorn horn really gleams and stands out. That must be such a tall building because I would not have guessed that the animals are 10 feet tall. It’s definitely worth your while to look up.

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