Natural History Museum

The animal and plant decoration on the museum’s exterior

I have posted before about my love for the Waterhouse Building, home of London’s Natural History Museum (The Sculpture of Nature). This time I thought that I would share a few photographs showing the outside of this beautiful and eccentric building, specifically, a few of the many, many animal and plant sculptures and reliefs that decorate its rich exterior.

A Cathedral to Science - entrance to the museum

A Cathedral to Science – entrance to the museum

The ambition of Alfred Waterhouse’s design is breathtaking in its complexity, with literally hundreds of sculptures and gargoyles adorning a façade that is already a busy excursion into the Gothic fairytale-land of the German Romanesque. Such richness of detail could easily have disintegrated into a jumbled mess, yet through careful control of scale and proportion, together with the cohesive force of the strong lines running through the design, Waterhouse never loses the overall coherence of the building.

Iconic landmark - The towers of the museum seen from South Kensington underground station

Iconic landmark – The towers of the museum seen from South Kensington underground station

Primitive reptiles and a dire-wolf? beneath on of the many windows

Primitive reptiles and a dire-wolf? beneath one of the many windows

This magnificent feline is high up, against one of the building's central towers

This magnificent feline is high up, against one of the building’s central towers

A whole menagerie of beasts and gargoyles look down on visitors

A whole menagerie of beasts and gargoyles look down on visitors

This lion, like all the other beasts, was modelled from Waterhouse's own drawings

This lion, like all the other beasts, was modelled from Waterhouse’s own drawings

The building also has more subtle decoration, such as this fox and birds over the entrance

The building also has more subtle decoration, such as this fox and birds over the entrance

Smaller creatures are represented on tiles such as these

Smaller creatures are represented on tiles such as these

Apart from the animal in the roundel, note the birds in the rooftop ironwork

Apart from the animal in the roundel, note the birds in the rooftop ironwork

The famous pterodactyl

The famous pterodactyl

I fell in love with this building on the day I first saw it and in the decades since I have only grown to appreciate it more. If you have a chance to visit London then please make a trip to the Natural History Museum one of your priorities.

(As always, thanks are due to husband Alex for helping to put my thoughts into words.)

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Natural History Museum

  1. Organic forms soften the building, as do the use of different textures. Thanks for the pictures as I have not visited the Waterhouse BUilding.

  2. Pingback: Bio-inspiratie tuin Los Angeles Natural History Museum. | TUINENSTRUINEN.COM

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s