Glasgow - City of Sculpture
By Gary Nisbet
Charing Cross Mansions
Details:

Architect: J J Burnet
Sculptor: William Birnie Rhind
Location: 2-30 St George's Road, Charing Cross, Glasgow
Date executed: 1889-91


Charing Cross Mansions, Glasgow Charing Cross Mansions, Glasgow Charing Cross Mansions, Glasgow

The first and grandest red sandstone tenement in the city, Charing Cross Mansions was built for Robert Simpson & Son, Warehousemen, 1889-91, and was a modified version of JJ Burnet's French Renaissance-style entry in the City Chambers Competition of 1880.

Included in the new design was a grande horloge at the centre of the façade surrounded by sculpture inspired by Michelangelo.


Charing Cross Mansions, Glasgow Charing Cross Mansions, Glasgow
Charing Cross Mansions, Glasgow Charing Cross Mansions, Glasgow Charing Cross Mansions, Glasgow Charing Cross Mansions, Glasgow

Alluding to the passing of time and the seasons, the clock face is bordered with the signs of the Zodiac, together with an enigmatic male mask probably representing Old Father Time himself (which looks remarkably like a portrait of Burnet ), and is surrounded by four crouching and standing figures representing Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.


Charing Cross Mansions, Glasgow Charing Cross Mansions, Glasgow Charing Cross Mansions, Glasgow Charing Cross Mansions, Glasgow

The clock is surmounted by two reclining figures representing Commerce and Industry, in poses similar to those on Michelangelo's Tomb of Guiliano Medici in San Lorenzo Florence, of c 1534.


Charing Cross Mansions, Glasgow

The other sculptural ornament includes splendid escutcheons bearing the Glasgow Arms and monograms carved with the entwined letters R and S, representing Robert Simpson.


Charing Cross Mansions, Glasgow Charing Cross Mansions, Glasgow
Charing Cross Mansions, Glasgow Charing Cross Mansions, Glasgow

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