The mural painted at Bevin Court is named ‘Day and Night, Winged Bulls’. It depicts the coat of arms of Finsbury in an abstract form. The bold colours and mesmerising patterns make this a mural that you can really look at again and again.
Finsbury, as a place, was an incredibly important construct to Lubetkin. As a borough, Finsbury had awarded Lubetkin some key contracts. Three crests of Finsbury were once located at the top of Bevin Court. Sadly, when Finsbury was joined to Islington in 1965 the crests were removed.
The crest of Finsbury was awarded to the borough in 1931 from the College of Arms.
The following text comes from the Town Clerk Hugh Green in 1931. More can be read about the meaning and history of the Coat of Arms in our article on the Finsbury Crest and its meaning.
Arms: On a red ground a White Cross, in the centre running water, with four red circles. Two plain and two charged with white crescents, the upper part of the shield embattled and bearing two towers and a gateway on a gold ground.
Crest: on a red and white wreath a shortened forearm holding a small white shield bearing a red cross and four swords with gold handles.
Supporters: on the right side (left to the observer) a Winged Bull in white, with a decorated blue collar, and on the left side a green dolphin charged with a badge thereon engraved a Well.
Motto: ALTIORA PETIMUS: WE SEEK HIGHER THINGS
If we deconstruct the crest and compare the constituent parts to Peter Yates’ mural we can clearly identify:
- the winged bull of St. Luke
- the dolphins representing St. James
- a pool of water referring to the New River Head
- the Clerks’ Well in the centre
- the crescents and circles denote Charterhouse
- the tower to the left is St Luke’s.
- the city walls and gate referencing the Liberty of Glasshouse Yard
- and the dome represents St Paul’s, it even has the same cross atop it
Although St Paul’s is not in the crest it is the church which dominates the southern skyline when looking from Bevin Court. Looking at some of Yates’ earlier studies this is an easy progression.
Take a look at Yates’ mural again and see if you can identify the parts of the crest.
The mural has recently undergone a fantastic restoration process. To find out more about the process you can read these articles.