It's strange the things you spot at summer parties. Sir Rick Trainor (he taught me almost forty years ago) yesterday evening hosted his last summer party as Principal of King's College, London - he heads off over the summer to be the Rector of Exeter College, Oxford.
The party was in the hidden away grounds of King's Maughan Library on Chancery Lane - and it's there that I came across these remarkable panels designed (it seems) by Walter Crane.
Crane was an influential artist and book illustrator - and a pioneering socialist ... indeed his designs featured on the membership cards, in the masthead designs, everywhere, in the socialist movement of the 1880s. He was a close ally of William Morris in particular.
These panels were designed for St Dunstan's House, a publisher's office, when it was built on Fetter Lane in 1886 (when Crane was most actively involved in the socialist movement). His authorship of the design seems to be less than absolutely certain. The building has been demolioshed - and the panels moved to King's property nearby, where they have been incorporated into what you might call a feature, though one sadly rather hidden away alongside the bicycle racks.
What's are these designs all about? Well the company based at St Dunstan's House published maps and novels including Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days. There's no particular reason to believe that these panels were their commission - thought it would sort of make sense. There's a bit more detail here.
I am sorry that you are a crony of the man who has done more to damage the reputation of King's College London than anyone except the managers he employs. To attend his party is the moral equivalent of crossing a picket line.
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