Erection date: 1862
Site: Grosvenor Hotel - 14 heads (14 memorials)
SW1, Buckingham Palace Road, Grosvenor Hotel
This 1860 building, by architect James Knowles Snr, is studded with many portrait busts of which we believe only these 14 are representations of particular individuals. Given their facial features and rather exaggerated head-gear the others seem more to represent types: racial, or national, etc. The 14 are on the central section of the Buckingham Palace Road elevation, facing to the right in our photo, in the first floor window spandrels.
However we have failed to identify most of these heads. Victoria was easy and she gave us Albert, on her left, but the 6 on each side are tough. The costumes help - a few indicating military men, and the togas presumably indicating politicians but the two with loose-collared shirts - artists? We wonder, did the Victorian populace of the 1860s enjoy this 'spot the celebrity' game? If you have an eye for faces please have a go and let us know who you find.
2018: Via a lead we've nominated one of the heads as Palmerston. 3 down, only 11 to go.
2023: We've noticed that the south elevation which is barely visible also has some roundels, certainly at the fourth floor. We can't see the first floor at all but that could also have some heads. Perhaps when the hotel was first erected this elevation was more visible. Since those on the north elevation are generic, we trust these are too.
One of the more interesting visitors to this hotel was Emile Zola.