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NYC - Rockfeller Center: British Empire Building - Industries of the British Empire | by wallyg
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NYC - Rockfeller Center: British Empire Building - Industries of the British Empire

Industries of the British Empire is a large cast bronze panel embellished with nine gilded allegorical figures in three vertical rows, each representing the industries found through the British empire. Sculpted by Carl Paul Jennewein, the 18 feet high by 11 feet wide high-relief was installed above the entrance to 620 Fifth Avenue, the British Empire Building, in January 1933.

 

The classically rendered figures, set starkly against a brown patina, embody the glory of the Empire with their forward facing poses and firm stances, and wealth with their gilding ornamentation. Eight of the figures are labeled with their industries. The British Isles are symbolized by three of the figures: the unlabeled central figure of a seaman with an achor; Fish is a man with a net and a leaping fish; and Coal is a miner with a lantern and pick. India is also symbolized by three figures: Sugar, a man holding sugarcane stalks; Salt, a woman carrying a salt bag; and Tobacco, a woman with tobacco leaves. Africa is symoolized by Cotton, a woman with cotton plants. Austrailia is symbolized by Wool, a sphepherd with a crook and sheep. Canada is symbolized by Wheat, a reaper with a scythe and wheat stalks. Jennewein added a stylized rising sun beneath the allegorical figures, representing the old adage, "The sun never sets on the British Empire"

 

Above the Industries of the British Empire, Jennewein added a polychrome-painted and gilded limestone replica of the Royal Coat of Arms Coat of Arms the United Kingdom, the The Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom is the official coat of arms of the British monarch, officially known as their Arms of Dominion.

 

The current Royal Arms are a combination of the arms of the Kingdoms that make up the United Kingdom, and can be traced back to the first arms of the Kings of England and Scotland. The shield is quartered: The first and fourth symbolizing England, colored red (gules), contain the three lions passant guardant of England (passant meaning walking, and gardant meaning looking out of the shield); the second, symbolizing Scotland, and also red, is a rampant lion (rampant meaning standing erect with one paw on the ground and the other three raised) and double tressure felury-counter-fleury; the third symbolizing Ireland, colored azure, contains a harp of Tara.

 

The crest is a lion statant guardant wearing the imperial crown, itself on another representation of that crown. The dexter supporter is a likewise crowned lion, symbolizing England; the sinister, a unicorn, symbolising Scotland. According to legend a free unicorn was considered a very dangerous beast; therefore the British heraldic unicorn is chained. They stand on a grassy hill among three other symbols of the British islands--the gilded Tudor rose of England, the thistle of Scotland, and the shamrock of Ireland. A banner below the shield carries the gilded motto of British royalty: Dieu et mon droit, which is French for "God and my [birth]right." Inscribed on a belt surrounding the shield is the motto of the Order of Garter: Honi soit qui mal y pense, Latin for "Evil for him who thinks evil".

 

Rockefeller Center was designated a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1985.

 

In 2007, Rockefeller Center was ranked #56 on the AIA 150 America's Favorite Architecture list.

 

Rockefeller Center National Register #87002591

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Taken on April 8, 2007