This Portland Stone pigeon roosts somewhere in London's Trafalgar Square, and there is a story behind it:
Some years ago we carried out a project in Trafalgar Square which involved us carving more than 50 corinthian capitals (N.B. this was the only carving which we were responsible for - and that was not our design).
A whole run of vaulting was produced and fixed, which included one section of ribbing (visible beneath the pigeon) which should not actually have been there! Rather than go to the trouble and expense of cutting it all out, the main stone contractors suggested to me that I should donate some carved 'thing' to go there to make it look as though it was intentional. So, with the architect's blessing, what else in Trafalgar Square but a pigeon!
If you should find this pigeon PLEASE do not attempt to steal it. a) you will probably be arrested b) you will probably break your neck c) you will almost certainly break the pigeon while trying to remove it. - commission one for yourself if you want!
There is another interesting oddity on this building. Two of the first
floor pilaster capitals appear to have their central roses on fire! This
was because immediately after we had completed the carvings and they had
been fixed, the infamous 'Poll Tax Riot' took place. You may well remember
TV footage showing the temporary huts burning on the first floor scaffolding
of a building. . . . . . you can guess the rest! If you want to see
another quirky thing like this click HERE
(this photo will take a while to download, but you can read the text!)
The carver's nightmare! These are photos of a carving I did in 1978 (I think) during my time spent at Westminster Abbey in the late 1970s. The creature was being carved by the carver and was mostly completed when it suddenly came alive and seized him/me! You may not be able to see very clearly in these photographs but, for instance, one of the creatures ears is complete but the other one is just in the 'roughed out' stage. There is a rolled up drawing balanced on the carver's feet. Sleep well!
These two photographs
show a large 'dolphin' group which I carved for The Royal Naval College,
Greenwich, London. The stone was Portland limestone. The old, battered group
(which was the original Sir Christopher Wren one) had weathered away so
much in this exposed place over the years that there were hard pieces of
shell in the stone which had not weathered back from the original surface
which were left standing proud of the surface by a full inch (25mm)!
What we do ....... (selection)
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