NHM London: the building (outside)

I’ve written about the NHM‘s exhibitions before, and there is a post to come on the dinosaur exhibition’s lower level. Today, I’ll rave a bit about the building. I’m always delighted by facade details on buildings built as museums. Humanities tend to have a lot of humans, and Natural History museums sometimes have nice animals, more rarely plants.

A view from the street. The building looks like a mixture between a cathedral and a railway station 🙂 The large main hall inside adds some to the rail terminal feel – but more on that later! The bricks used are light blue and a warm yellow, which makes the facade look friendly but somewhat unsettled.  Let’s check out what welcomes the visitor on the outside:

The facade is ornamented to the fare thee well, with columns and relief patterns on them and so on. And with a plethora of floral and especially faunal elements. Wolf and pterosaur statues sit under each of the large windows’ central dividing column. Left and right, under the glass panes, there are various fish and lizards to be found, and many more critters extant and extinct.

Th top is lined with griffons and lions etc. as (fake) waterspouts, and while many animals are repeated, no two neighboring ones are the same:

The entrance is lavishly decorated as well. I didn’t get a total of the entrance door, because I would have felt too cheesy standing there like any stupid tourist taking the obligatory “I was there” shot, with everybody of the party standing in front (and in all the other visitors’ way) smiling that stupid “cheese” smile. OK, Sebastian certainly would not have had a cheesy smile on his face, but you get my meaning.

Above the entrance you can find this nice menagerie (as usual, click through for larger size):

The image is heavily huginized and paintshoproX-ed (I could never get the hang of Photoshop), including removal of perspective. On the sides the main door is flanked by series of semicolumns, nicely ornamented….

Their capitals are decorated with various animals, smallish mammals and birds mostly.

The bases of the semicolumns are decorated as well, and that had me laughing out loud:

Overall, a beautiful building with some awesome art! I’d have loved to spend some more time checking it out.

About Heinrich Mallison

I'm a dinosaur biomech guy
This entry was posted in historical buildings etc., NHM London, non-palaeo. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to NHM London: the building (outside)

  1. protohedgehog says:

    Epic photos! I miss that place..

    If you ever get the chance, nip down to the Piccadilly platforms at South Kensiongton, and this artwork is actually replicated along the walls!

  2. himmapaan says:

    I adore the architecture of the NHM. Thank you for these wonderful pictures.

  3. Pingback: Some bio-architecture in London | dinosaurpalaeo

  4. NHM London: the building (outside) | dinosaurpalaeo – хороший пост, спасибо

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