Concrete art in the parking lot of the Cavendish Hotel

In a small street in St James is a hotel, with an underground car park and a long concrete art frieze. Many people who use the hotel won’t know it’s here, as the main entrance is on the other side, but if you walk down Duke Street, a shaped concrete wall greets you.

It is a work of art by William Mitchell, an English sculptor best known for his large-scale concrete murals and public works of art between the 1960s and 1970s.

His presence here is therefore likely to date from the moment when the Cavendish Hotel has been rebuilt in the 1960s, replacing a war-damaged but highly regarded predecessor. It’s not that obvious up close, but the hotel has a large central tower, in a very 1960s podium style that would never be allowed today, but that means occupants have very good views of the skyline.

Initially self-taught and later formally educated, William Mitchell was the big breakthrough in finding employment at London County Council, where he was able to work with many post-war architects and then started his own business. At its peak, it employed 40 people working on public art commissions across the country

As a work of art, it’s very pot, whether you love it or hate it. Much of Mitchell’s work has suffered from some degree of antipathy in recent years, but it has seen a resurgence in recent years and some of his public art is gaining list status for the protect.

I’m sure there are deeper meanings to the casts on the concrete wall, and maybe an art historian can talk about it for 20 minutes, but I just admired it as a work of art. art that is part of its time, and it’s good to see it in situ.

The only quirk is that they were originally tanned but have since been painted white.


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