United Kingdom Ariel at Tivoli Corner, Bank of England

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Gert Lucas

About this spot
The acutely-angled north-western corner of the Bank of England is known as Tivoli Corner because Sir John Soane took inspiration for its appearance from the Temple of Vesta at Tivoli in Italy. Soane crowned his little temple with an elaborate attic but Herbert Baker replaced this with a shallow, copper-roofed dome when he reconfigured and enlarged the Bank between the wars – for the most part destructively.

Perched atop the cupola surmounting this dome is a gilded bronze figure called Ariel, after the spirit of the air in The Tempest – though Shakespeare’s Ariel was male and this one is not. The statue is by Charles Wheeler, who produced several works for the rebuilt Bank, of which Ariel is the most highly regarded and gained the Royal British Society of Sculptors’ medal for the best work of the year in 1937.

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