Lot 216 (Garden and Natural History Sealed Bid Auction, 2nd October 2019)

Sold for £20,000

Lot details

Architectural: ▲ An important aluminium frieze designed by J.A. Halliday and sculpted by Philip Bentham, commissioned for the Clydesdale Bank, Lombard street,

London, circa 1963

comprising seven panels

148cm high by 18.79 metres

This impressive aluminium frieze is a wonderfully comprehensive pictorial record of Scotland’s rich history incorporating all aspects of Scottish life and identity.

Although it was conceived as a running frieze, at first floor level, on the outside of the bank, there is no chronological order and each individual panel is a stand alone sculptural relief. Although all of the symbols are seemingly randomly portrayed, there is a calculated informality in the juxtapositioning of the elements emphasising the incredible diversity of the Scottish nation. Included in the frieze panels are the following pictorial representations;

Natural History; Golden eagle, capercaillie, heron, fish, lobster, seal, angus coe, wheat, barley,

History Heraldry and Religion; Scottish lion and coat of arms, Celtic harp, ceremonial orb, St Andrew, Scottish Thistle, Scottish cross,Viking ship, saint

Music and Sport; Bagpipes, golf club, fishing rod and fly, salmon, early bicycle, hunting horn

Buildings; Edinburgh Castle, highland croft, lighthouse, textile mills, brewery, power station

Farming, Fishing and Industry; fishing nets, fishing boat, shepherd’s crook, crofter spinning wool, distillery, shipyards and cranes, welders plate, blacksmith’s anvil, dray horse collar and wagon wheel, cotton and wool spindles and reels,

Military, Highland soldier, Scottish broad and basket hilt swords, musket, sash broach

During the recent demolition of the 1963 Clydesdale bank, these panels were discovered hidden behind later marble cladding. The frieze was originally conceived by John Alexander Halliday who gave the original painted designs to the sculptor Philip Bentham who modelled them in clay and then had them cast in aluminium. Included in the lot is a copy of an article in the 20th April 1963 Financial Times describing the building, including the frieze, together with a copy of the original designs for one of the panels as well as a present day letter from Mr J.A. Halliday , now retired and living in Scotland, confirming his part in the commission as well as his delight that the panels had been rediscovered and survived the demolition. Mr Halliday is planning to publish a book on his work next year, which will include these panels