Hutton panels being removed  Bucklersbury House (c) MOLA

Bank Station gets a Roman make-over

MOLA team
18.12.2018

Passengers using the new Walbrook entrance to Bank Station in the City of London will see 24 glowing glass panels etched with scenes from the Roman world, high on the walls at the level between the first and second sets of escalators. These are another amazing legacy from the discovery of the Temple of Mithras on this site in 1954.

The huge public interest in the temple in the 50s not only inspired the site owners, Legal & General Assurance Society, to reconstruct the remains, they also commissioned New Zealand artist John Hutton (1906 – 1978) to create a series of engraved and etched glass panels to commemorate the discovery. The panels were originally positioned over the north and south entrances of the Legal & General’s 1960s building, Bucklersbury House.

John Hutton's panel depicting the tauroctony (c) MOLA

The panels have long been recognised as a significant art work in the City of London and one of the conditions for redevelopment of Bucklersbury House was that they be reinstalled in an appropriate space on the site. Bloomberg acquired the site in 2010 and one of the first tasks was the careful removal and cleaning of the panels, undertaken by conservation specialists Recclesia Ltd and recorded by our photographers. Wanting the panels to have maximum impact in their future display Bloomberg gifted the panels to London Underground to be integrated within the new Bank Station entrance on Walbrook, constructed within the footprint of the new Bloomberg building.

John Hutton is internationally renowned in his field of glass engraving and the Bucklersbury panels are a great example of his creativity and skill. His work can be found all over the world, but one of his most famous commissions is in the UK at Coventry Cathedral where he produced the Screen of Saints and Angels.

The Bucklersbury panels are in two series, once set features the god Mithras killing the primordial bull; the central icon in the cult of Mithras and the most obvious reference to the discovery. On either side of this bull-slaying scene, known at the tauroctony, were other Roman gods and goddesses.  The second series features scenes from Roman life in Londinium, with soldiers, merchants, women and children and even a vision of Roman London Bridge in the background.

John Hutton's panels in Bank Station

The uniform backlighting of the now beautifully clean panels means that the figures are more visible and a great reference to the history of the discovery of the temple of Mithras. If you do head down to the new Bank Station entrance then make sure (if you haven’t already) that you pop in to London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE next door to marvel at the amazing reconstruction of the temple for free. Visit www.londonmithraeum.com for more information.

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