The Beasts

danFor many years, a masterpiece of English Baroque Architecture had languished forgotten and decaying in Central London. This is the Church of St George’s Bloomsbury, designed by the architect Nicholas Hawksmoor in the early 18th Century.

The tower and steeple of St George’s is one of Hawkmoor’s most inspired dramatic and theatrical designs. It is based on the Roman author Pliny the Elder’s description of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus (Bodrum, in Turkey) One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, it was famed for its superb sculptures and friezes, fragments of which are now on display in the British Museum, a stone’s throw away from the church.
Like the famed Mausoleum, St George’s spire is adorned with sculpture, but major elements of it were removed in a restoration of the 1870’s. Gigantic Lions and Unicorns originally clung to the four corners of the steeple.

As part of the restoration in 2004-2006, these extraordinary sculptures were recreated and restored to the building by the Cambridge based Architectural Carvers and Stonemasons, Fairhaven of Anglesey Abbey Ltd (now Fairhaven Stone Ltd).

Harris Digital Productions filmed the whole process, from the model making, carving and the 72 stone sections which were assembled around the spire of the church. To learn more about the Beasts of Bloomsbury, please visit our dedicated project website at