This is one of those very well-hidden works of public art that you either pass regularly because you walk down the small side street they’re on or will never ever see.

And it’s right around the back of City Thameslink station’s Ludgate entrance, and you can even see them from the inside of the station as there’s a glass door by the southbound platform escalators — not that anyone seems to notice (including this regular user of the station). In fact I only spotted them on an amble around the area to fill 10 minutes before a meeting.

What is here is a large series of ceramic tiled walls that line the back of the office block that’s officially 100 New Bridge Road – although the art faces onto Waltham Street – and both the office block and the artwork date from the early 1990s.

The artwork is by the former artist Rupert Spira, often described as being among the finest ceramists of his generation, and while best known for his domestic creations, he also did a few public art installations. Spira was active as a potter for more than 30 years, during which time he achieved international renown, although these days he’s a spiritual teacher.

Back to the office block, the back of the building is lined with 23 handmade stoneware panels containing 18,000 tiles, all produced by Surrey-based Froyle Pottery, the same company that made the London Underground tiles for Walford East tube station.

Slightly annoyingly, while there are lots of signs telling people the panels have artistic merit and not to park bikes there, there’s nothing to tell you about the art itself. It took a fair bit of research to find the artist, and only then did the details become easier to find.

The panels will be more noticeable soon, though, as the building they are on is about to be refurbished. The panels will be retained but brought out of their recesses so that they are more visible, and the narrow passageway is to be renovated to make it a more welcoming route to walk along.

Maybe more people will then discover these large but otherwise quite hidden works of art.


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One comment
  1. M.J. says:

    These lovely tiles are in Waithman Street, not “Waltham” as stated in your article. (See your photo of the street name sign.) Thanks for telling your readers the name of the artist. I photographed these over 15 years ago and never discovered his name.

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