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paintings by Amanda Wigglesworth and Allan Storer

15 May 2023 - 05 November 2023
68 Upper Thames Street, London EC4V 2AF
in co-operation with ARTful

Vintners' Place is a 1980s classical-style office building in the City of London. It faces the Thames and has entrances in Upper Thames Street and Queen Street Place, with the building surrounding Five Kings House and Vintners' Hall. The neighbouring building on the west side is Thames Court, 1 Queenhithe, while on the east side Queen Street Place leads to Southwark Bridge.

The Whinney Mackay

Materials Utilized
Vintners Place is a new, 37,000 m˛ office building overlooking the Thames in the City of London. Built in a classic style, it is next to the historical, listed Vintners Hall owned by the Vintners Company. The client had requested that the marble floor be realised from interesting and different types of material and should be inspired by St Peter’s in Rome. Whinney Mackay-Lewis, who were also the building’s architects, won the international competition for an 800 m˛ floor in a pattern that displayed a range of colours and explored the chromatic wealth and veins of different marbles from countries around the Mediterranean.

The floors in all the main public areas are in elaborately-patterned marble, echoing motifs from St Peter's and other Roman churches by Bernini. Bands of Estremoz marble frame the patterned areas and help define the architectural and structural grid. The radical design of the Compass Hall revolves around a central sun/compass which highlights the new orientation of the building at this point and directs visitors to the main stairway and the South Gallery. Magnificent stairway inspired by a Bernini original in the Vatican, it leads to the entrance Atrium on the main floor of the Gallery. The marble steps with their carefully-measured height rise between freestanding columns and walls decorated with niches on either side. The Stairway broadens out invitingly as it descends and leads to a hall dominated by succeeding arches accessing the lifts to the north, and then, to the right, runs through the Gallery with its sky-lighted six floors.

Here the pattern on the marble floor, inspired by St Peter’s, is complete. The overall effect is airy and elegant, conferring a strong sense of identity and classic harmony. The marble has been carefully selected for its veining, shade and pattern. The whole floor is laid out to a grid pattern with 3-metres squares with 60-70 cm borders enclosing the various shadings and circular designs.

Lewis Partnership

Vintners Hall
Vintners Hall on Upper Thames Street in the City of London is the livery hall of the Worshipful Company of Vintners. It stands by Southwark Bridge, in Vintry ward.

The Vintners' Company is one of the most ancient of the livery companies, and is thought to date back to the 12th century. It is one of the "Great Twelve" livery companies of London and ranks eleventh in the order of precedence among the companies. One of the more peculiar rights of the Company involves the ceremony of swan upping.

Wine, mutant swans…(and Star Trek?)
January 22, 2015
The Swan with Two Necks in Stockport
Many of London’s weird and wonderful street names come from inns or taverns, more of which here. Pub names can (and have) filled entire books in themselves, and one curious pub name is the Swan with Two Necks.

The history of this name goes back to 1357, when the first hall of the Vintners Company was built in, in Vintners Place, near what is now Upper Thames Street. The company is eleventh of the twelve great livery companies and its toasts traditionally included five cheers rather than the usual three.

This, according to our wonderful London historian John Stow, is because in 1363 Henry Picard, vintner and former mayor, “did in one day sumptuously feast Edward III, king of England, John, king of France, David, king of Scots… and Edward, prince of Wales”. There was a legend that the king of Denmark was also there so the presence of five kings gave rise to the five toasts.

Vintners Company Swan Upping
All of which is fun to know but is not related to the mutant swans. The company is one of only three owners of swans on the Thames, the others being the crown and the Dyers Company (a restriction that dates back to the reign of Elizabeth I). Every year there is a ‘swan upping ceremony’ in which the Vintners’ cygnets are marked with two nicks on their beaks. This mark of ownership led to a seemingly curious name for taverns: the Swan with Two Necks, from ‘swan with two nicks’.

The Vintners Hall was one of the many casualties of the Great Fire in 1666 and, in keeping with the pub theme, the Company spent the next few years without a hall and having to hold their meetings in various pubs. Maybe even in one called the Swan with Two Necks? There are still pubs around the country with the name.

Star Trek? Well, who knows – maybe Henry Picard was the inspiration for Captain Picard’s name.

Catalogue (pdf)                          Amanda Wigglesworth                          Allan Storer                          Guide to Vintners Hall (pdf)

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