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200 St Vincent Street

144 St Vincent Street

Category: Historic Building

Used in the following map:

Glasgow St Vincent Street Art Trail

200 St Vincent Street
(Royal Sun Alliance Building)

Built in 1929, this simple, elegant building was designed by Sir John
James Burnet (1857-1938). There are some wonderful stone-carvings around the doorway of the building. This figure crouches to the right of the door, and clutches a model of a boat. He wears a cloak and boots, and has a very youthful face. Notice how different it looks from other faces in Glasgow's statues. He looks like a bit like a character from a comic strip, with very sharp features. Many of the faces on older buildings are rather smooth and more formally posed, for example, the figures on the Atheneum (1886). This relaxed statue, by the sculptors Mortimer, Willison & Graham, was added to the building in the 1930s, and shows a distinct change in style.

This figure is even more unusual. You may have noticed that a lot of female figure statues in Glasgow wear little clothing, but this is a more modest depiction of a woman - she wears a long cloak just like the man. She has a very noticeable hairstyle, and very sharp features. She is evidence of the changing world of the 1930s, and looks like a film star, such as Greta Garbo or Joan Crawford. Although both these figures are crouching informally, they both appear watchful, as though they are guarding this building from attack.
Above the door is a figure of St Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland, which was sculpted by Archibald Dawson. This figure is also very different in style from earlier sculptures. The influence of Art Deco style can be clearly seen in all of these figures, with their clean, elegant lines.


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