Edmund J Thring (1906 – 1985)

Design for St Nicholas House, High Street, Bristol



46 x 54 cm

Signed lower left and inscribed ‘Alec F French & Partners, Architects, Bristol’ (home to the Commercial Union Group and remodelled in 1959 by Alec French and partners).

An architectural drawing of St Nicholas House, a 1930s Art Deco building on the corner of St Nicholas Street and High Street in the heart of Bristol. It was originally built as a banking headquarters, and is recognisable for its curved facade. Today St Nicholas House is a co-working space owned by The Office Group; the interiors have been remodelled in an Art Deco-inspired style, in honour of the building’s architectural origins.

Edmund J Thring was an architectural perspectivist who produced over 2,500 perspectives in his lifetime. He spent much of the Second WorId War in the Photographic Reconnaissance Interpretation Unit at RAF Nuneham Park, interpreting aerial photographs and making models.

In ‘A History of Architectural Model Making in Britain’, David Lund notes that Thring was the chief instructor for the hundred or so recruits in the model-making department. He was described as ‘a sweetly patient man with a merciless eye and inflexible standards of quality’ who pushed his recruits hard. The team made over four hundred models for the D-Day invasion, and a thousand further models over the rest of the war. Pilots bombing German warships in Norwegian fjords found maps almost useless, so carried cardboard models of the topography in their cockpits.

Thring also served with the Observer Corps, scanning the English Channel from the Sussex coast. Following the war, he began taking commissions for architectural perspectives (there were plenty of these available on account of the extensive postwar rebuilding works).

We are grateful to the artist’s daughter for providing this information.

Condition: generally very good, mounted to board, old time-staining to very margins under mount area.

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