National Recording Project


Detail from: Memorial to 158 Squadron by Peter W. Naylor, 2009

Bank of England, Architectural Sculpture, Threadneedle St.


Type Relief , Sculpture

     Telamons and Caryatids: Flanking the central arch are two female caryatid figures, their torsos nude, but with thin drapery covering the lower parts of their bodies. Each supports a cornucopia on her shoulder and looks away from the arch, and across her raised arm, towards the two male figures beyond. The male telamon figures, of which there are four in all, are completely nude and look inwards towards the women. Reading from left to right, the first holds a bunch of keys in his hands, which are folded over his sexual organ, whilst more keys hang from a belt at his side. His head is flanked by large keyhole motifs. The second has massive keys on either side of his head, and holds pendant chains in his hands. His arms hang down on each side of his body. The third and fourth figures both have furled banners behind them. The hands of the inner one of the two hang down but are disposed asymmetrically, his left hand resting on his thigh, whilst the right is at his side. The other figure has his left hand resting on his chest, the right raised in a benedictory gesture, one finger raised and the palm facing outwards. All of the six figures in this group are engaged directly with the wall behind them, so that they form buttresses. The female figures represent productiveness, the male figures are the warders of the Bank and represent custodianship. Keystone This keystone over the central arch is carved with a double warded key. According to Herbert Baker it was inspired by the lines from John Milton's Lycidas: "Two massy keys he bore of metals twain, The golden opes, the iron shuts amain" The Lady of the Bank The Lady is in high relief, and occupies the central part of the pediment. To her left and right, but widely separated from her are reliefs of oak leaves (executed by Armitage & Sons.), the one on the left containing the date MDCXCIV, that on the right MCMXXX. She is clothed and seated on a globe. Her hair forms a stylised crown for her head. With her raised right hand she holds her cloak which billows out to her left. With her left hand she supports on her opposite knee a temple-like building, with four columns and a pediment. This pediment contains a miniature relief of the Lady herself. Beside her right leg is a cascade of coins.

Contributor details

Contributor Role
Wheeler, Sir Charles Sculptor

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
Telamons and Caryatids Portland Stone 300 (H)
Keystone Portland Stone 90 (H)
The Lady of the Bank Portland Stone 300 (H)

PMSA recording information

Reference Region
General condition Good
Surface condition
Structural condition
Road Treadneedle Street
Precise location Bank of Engalnd - Theadneedle Street front
A-Z ref None
OS ref None

Sorry, we have no precise geographical information for this item.

Date of design 1928-31
Year of unveiling None
Unveiling details None
Commissioned by None
Duty of care None
Listing status Don't know
At risk? No known risk

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