Saturday, 12 November 2011

Living sculpture

   This summer I nipped into Harrods, a department store in in the West End of London. It sells nothing of interest, but is well worth a visit, or more accurately, the food hall is worth a visit. Get there at ten in the morning when it's opening and one can examine the decorative sculptures before the place fills up. It's a good time to take photographs and generally get in the way of the employees trying to set up the stands.

   Mermaids clinging each to each. I like the way their caudal fins are gathered in wet, lazy folds, a much more sensual arrangement than the way their tails are traditionally represented.

   It seems these pieces were created at the London workshops of "U.K. Sculptors".

   The wall tiles were designed by W J Neatby (1860-1910).

   They're real fish swimming around behind the leaping sea trout. I wonder who feeds them, the fishmongers or the maintenance people? I would be nice to think it's some impossible-to-fire old retainer whose sole responsibility it is and who is a vestige of the old days when Harrods boasted that it sold everything from a pin to an elephant. I remember as a boy taking the famous puff seriously and being disappointed at the pet section's paucity of p-p-pachyderms. There were monkeys in cages, and even galagos - nothing there now of course, except acres of g-plan sofas.

Assorted game ignored by an urban fox who's stealing away to raid a few dustbins.

            More splendid Neatby ceramics. These tiles and peafowl weren't in the food hall, they were in the bauble and wig department.

PS Don't race round to see these creations just yet – today I read that Harrods has been sold and is closed for two years for refurbishment.

   And the fish, who will feed the fish?