Victoria Building
Liverpool University, Brownlow Hill, (viewed from the Quadrangle), Liverpool L3

Picture by Jonathan P. Neill
 
Designer: Alfred Waterhouse
Decoration:
Brindley & Farmer
 

The original red brick university, The Victoria Building, demonstrates Waterhouse's high gothic in the dark stock brick and red terracotta that saw him dubbed 'Slaughterhouse Waterhouse'. The landmark clocktower (with chimes) was paid for by public subscription to mark the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887, though the building was completed only in 1892. There are impressive mosaic faces on the four clocks. The tower has decoration by Brindley & Farmer, who had designed the America & Europa figures on the North Western Hotel in Lime Street. The clock faces are supported by corbelling and enclosed by near-free spirelets. Below each clock, Victoriae Reginae is spelt out in gold mosaic. Below that, modelled in terracotta and best viewed from the paved area across Brownlow Hill at the Mount Pleasant junction, you can see the Arms of Dominion - the coat of arms of the United Kingdom and its monarch. A quartered shield containing the three lions of England, the lion rampant of Scotland and the harp of Ireland, is supported on each side by a crowned lion and a chained unicorn. This composition is surmounted by the Crown on which sits a small lion statant, itself wearing a crown and the whole sits on a banner bearing the legend Dieu Et Mon Droit - God and my right. Below the Arms of Dominion are five panels in which the letters VR, entwined in fleur de lis, alternate with a stylised rose and a thistle with shamrock.

Brindley & Farmer were a London firm of decorative craftsmen. William Farmer (1823–79) and William Brindley (1832-1919) produced much architectural carving for Sir George Gilbert Scott, Giles Gilbert Scott's grandfather, including his Albert Memorial, London (1875). Brindley became the firm's sole partner after Farmer's death and was also a painter and prolific author including The Modern Aspect of Marble Work In Architecture

Sources:
Pevsner Architectural Guides: Liverpool by Joseph Sharples
Glasgow Sculpture
Wikipedia
liv.ac.uk

Alan Maycock 2007

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