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Architectural façade

Architectural façade

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1680 - ca. 1700 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Wren, Christopher (Sir), born 1632 - died 1723 (architect)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Brick

  • Museum number:

    324:1 to 10-1907

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This brick house frontage was possibly built by or for Edward Helder, a bricklayer (d. 1672), after the designs of Sir Christopher Wren (1632-1723).

It formed part of the school-house in which the poet John Keats received the greater of his education (about 1903-1810). At a later date the building became part of Enfield Railway Station. The station was demolished in 1872; the façade however was saved, and originally purchased for the Structural Collection of the Science Museum, then part of the South Kensington Museum.

The acquisition of the façade is recorded in a contemporary publication about Enfield by Edward Ford. He noted: '...it was taken down brick by brick, with the greatest care, all being numbered and packed in boxes of sawdust for carriage. Nothing could exceed the beauty of the workmanship, the bricks having been ground down to a perfect face, and joined with bee-wax and rosin, nor mortar or lime being used. In this manner the whole front has been first built in a solid block, the circular-headed niches, with their carved cherubs and festoons of fruit and foliage, being afterwards cut out with the chisel....'

Sir Christopher Wren (1632-1723) was a designer, astronomer, geometer and one of Britain's greatest architects. He designed 53 churches in London, including St. Paul's Cathedral, and many other secular buildings, for example the Greenwich Naval Hospital. He was a founder of the Royal Society, and its President from (1680-82). He also carried out scientific research, and was a respected colleague of both Sir Isaac Newton and Blaise Pascal.

Physical description

The flat façade is divided into three by four pilasters with Corinthian capitals supporting a cornice; the central division with an opening for a window, the outer two each with a niche, the top which is filled with a cherub's head and crossed palm branches surmounted by a swag of fruit and leaves. Above the whole cornice is a swallow lunette.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

ca. 1680 - ca. 1700 (made)

Artist/maker

Wren, Christopher (Sir), born 1632 - died 1723 (architect)

Materials and Techniques

Brick

Dimensions

Height: 506 cm maximum, Width: 535.94 cm maximum

Object history note

It is possibly built by or for Edward Helder, a bricklayer (d. 1672) to the designs of Wren.
This façade formed part of the school-house in which the poet John Keats (1796-1821) received the greater part of his education (about 1803-1810). The building became part of Enfield Railway Station in 1848. The station was demolished in 1872, the façade however saved, and originally purchased for the Structural Collection of the Science Museum, then part of the South Kensington Museum.
Bought, £50.

Historical context note

The acquisition of the façade is recorded in a contemporary publication about Enfield by Edward Ford. He noted: '...it was taken down brick by brick, with the greatest care, all being numbered and packed in boxes of sawdust for carriage. Nothing could exceed the beauty of the workmanship, the bricks having been ground down to a perfect face, and joined with bee-wax and rosin, nor mortar or lime being used. In this manner the whole front has been first built in a solid block, the circular-headed niches, with their carved cherubs and festoons of fruit and foliage, being afterwards cut out with the chisel....'

Descriptive line

Architectural façade, brick, from a former school-house and later part of the Railway Station of Enfield, possibly built by or for Edward Helder, after a design by Sir Christopher Wren, England, before 1672

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

List of Works of Art Acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum in the Years 1905 - 1908. In: List of Works of Art Acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum, During the Year 1907, Arranged According to the Dates of Acquisition with Appendix and Indices. London: Printed for His Majesty's Stationery Office, by Eyre and Spottiswoode, Limited, 1909, p. 51
Bilbey, Diane and Trusted, Marjorie. British Sculpture 1470-2000. A Concise Catalogue of the Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 2002, p.21, cat.no. 24

Production Note

possibly built by or for the bricklayer Edward Helder

Materials

Brick

Subjects depicted

Cherub head; Palm branch; Fruit; Leaves; Lunette; Pilasters; Swag

Categories

Architecture; Sculpture

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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