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- killed by the jazz age, except for odd survivals such as the leaded lights in the windows
of suburban semi's, where it shows extraordinary persistence. London is not too well off
for art nouveau on a large scale, the best example being the tiled and mosaic meat and
poultry hall at Harrods. Another bit of art nouveau , illustrated here , is seen in the Black
Friar pub I have previously mentioned. Conventionalised carvings of monks support the
door canopies, and there is a profusion of mosaic and beaten metalwork. Art nouveau is
a movement deserving more extended study than it has as yet received: the stiff formal-
ity of its shapes, blended with sagging unbeauteous curves are an outward expression of
the fin de siècle , pulled this way and that, just as the harsh forms of today, destined to be
equally outdated, are a sufficient indication of the madness of the mid-twentieth century.
The Black Friar is Victorian above and art nouveau below. The door I have drawn is of
white stone and marble with an infilling of coloured mosaic; the metal plates by the doors,
'To the Saloon' and 'Worthington Ales on draught', have figures of monks, and the interi-
or is as rich as the exterior, slightly tinctured with an underlying hint of the Art and Craft
movement.
Yet another of these pleasant old-fashioned cafés is illustrated opposite, the Queen
Anne's Gate Restaurant. This has a very period feature in the shape of porcelain letters
on the windows, offering afternoon teas. This form of sign writing, fixed on the glass by
means of cement, occurs also in pubs and on the windows of the older type of chocolate
and sweet shops, advertising Cadbury's or Fry's chocolate, with the royal coat of arms, a
relic of the days of knickerbockers, Norfolk jackets, and Eton collars. The Queen Anne's
Gate Restaurant has a late Victorian or Edwardian flavour. There is a large canopy, rather
like the top of a sideboard, now painted pale blue. The dark stained finish of a previous
generation shows through the paint. The walls are tiled, inset with mirrors - those mir-
rors that reflect each other down long corridors. These walls are bordered with blue and
white, also yellow and grey tiles, and there is a deep tiled cornice of blue fruits and leaves
on white. Fine engraved panels are a feature of the café, some of them can be seen in my
drawing, and form a piquant foil to the sauce bottles and adverts for '7-Up'. * With these
old-fashioned restaurants might be grouped the dining-rooms and, on a higher plane, the
Victorian oyster rooms. Of these, the two best, I think - speaking artistically, of course -
are Gow's 'Oyster and Shellfish Warehouse' in Old Broad Street, which has a fascia of
probably the finest Victorian lettering in the City, and Sweeting's Oyster Rooms.
 
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