Just behind Warren Street Tube station and quite close to the BT Tower lies Fitzroy Square. Now pedestrianised, this is a lovely oasis of calm in a very busy and polluted part of London. I found two things of interest:
Firstly, on the square’s corner with Fitzroy Street, set in an alcove that may have been a bricked-up window and behind black iron railings, is a statue of General Franciso de Miranda.
Sebastián Francisco de Miranda y Rodríguez de Espinoza (March 28, 1750 – July 14, 1816), commonly known as Francisco de Miranda, was a Venezuelan revolutionary. Although his own plans for the independence of the Spanish American colonies failed, he is regarded as a forerunner of Simón Bolívar, who during the Spanish American wars of independence successfully liberated a vast portion of South America. Miranda led a romantic and adventurous life. An idealist, he developed a visionary plan to liberate and unify all of Spanish America but his own military initiatives on behalf of an independent Spanish America ended in 1812. He was handed over to his enemies and four years later, in 1816, died in a Spanish prison. Within fourteen years of his death, however, most of Spanish America was independent.
My second discovery, set on the inside of the square’s shady gardens was an abstract sculpture called “View” by Naomi Blake. In bronze resin 240 x 160 x 35. the sculpture was erected to celebrate the 1977 Silver Jubilee of the Queen.
Naomi Blake (née Dum) is a British sculptor born in in Mukaĉevo, Czechoslovakia (now Mukacheve, Ukraine) to Jewish parents somewhere between 1924 and 1927. The youngest of ten children, she was originally named Zisel (meaning sweet) by her parents. She changed her name to Naomi in 1948. She survived the Holocaust as a child in Auschwitz, although many members of her family died there. In 1942, Naomi’s family included 32 members: four grandparents, her parents, nine siblings, six spouses and ten young nieces and nephews. By 1945 only eight members remained. Much of Blake’s life and work has focused on the expression of her experiences. However her work is principally optimistic, forward looking and positive. It stands determinedly to help keep alive the legacy of the six million slaughtered Jews, as well as promoting Blake’s vision for uniting faiths, building understanding between religions and her hope for the future.
After the second World War war, she lived in Milan, Rome and Jerusalem, before making her home in North London. Blake studied at the Hornsey School of Art in London (now Middlesex University), England from 1955 to 1960. She has been exhibiting since 1962. Her work has been exhibited in many galleries, in the UK and overseas.and her sculptures can be seen permanently exhibited on many sites notably Fitzroy Square and St Ethelbergers Church in London, the University of Leicester Scarman Centre and The Holocaust Centre, Nottinghamshire. Her works are also in various private collections, including those of the Queen Mother and the Prince of Wales. She is a member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors.