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25 South Street 25 South Street

Relief: 25 South Street

Erection date: 1935


25 {the houe number}

{At the middle of the bottom edge:}
Reid Dick

{At the bottom right corner:}
35 {or possibly} 1935 

{Are the 2 girls pushing the two bearded men with strange hair/headgear down to hell, to join the one already there?  Why is another girl straddling the “25” spacehopper?  And the 4 monkeys?}

Deborah Singmaster of Footnotes sent us this picture and asked if we had any information. We did some research (see below) but have failed to explain this extraordinary carving. We can't find any work by Reid Dick that is so ebullient, and have no idea what the scene represents. Can anyone help?

Site: 25 South Street (1 memorial)

W1, South Street, 25

As well as this lovely (and puzzling) relief sculpture above the porch, there are three small carved squirrels above the ground floor windows, a reference perhaps to the owner's acquisitive habits?.

This private mansion was built in 1932-3 to designs by E. B. Musman, for Sir Bernard Eckstein. The iron and glass porch by W. Turner Lord Company arrived a bit later, in 1936.

Sir Eckstein bequeathed some items to the British Museum who record "painter/draughtsman; military/naval; collector; British; Male; 2 November 1894 - 10 May 1948."

Deborah tells us "In 1939 Musman commissioned Eric Kennington to carve a totem pole outside a pub called the Coment in Hatfield. Also Eckstein became Director of Kassala Cotton Co. Ltd, Sudan Plantations Syndicate, Sudan Salt Ltd. So the monkeys may be inspired by that African connection."

We've not managed to get over to South Street so the picture of the building comes courtesy of Google Streetview.

2014: Discovering London adds: A 2013 biography ("William Reid Dick, Sculptor" by Dennis Wardleworth) confirms that he did sculpt this relief but acknowledges that it is not typical of his work: "It is one of Reid Dick's playful reliefs ... However, it enters another world which Reid Dick was not to explore further, an orgiastic scene containing gods and nymphs and chimpanzees, crammed into the corners of the relief containing the number 25."

2017: Rosemary Mulady adds: "Sir Bernard is said to have kept 'monkeys' in his London House. Reid Dick provided the Eckstein tombs in Fairwarp Sussex."

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This section lists the subjects who helped to create/erect the memorial on this page:
25 South Street

Information Created by

Sir William Reid Dick

Born Glasgow. Reid was his mother's maiden name.  Other work in London: 1936 ...

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