Stain Glass Window
Hall, Second Level, Photo: Paul Wilker
The carved oak newel post at the foot of the main staircase is one of the more splendid features of the building. The four sides have symbols representing the origins of early European settlers in Perth County: a rose for England, a shamrock for Ireland, a thistle for Scotland and a leek for Wales. There are also oak leaves near the top, thought to represent Germany. Photo Paul Wilker
A Mysterious Terra Cotta Artist
For many years the terra cotta embellishments were believed to have been designed by the architect and created by the London stone carver, John Matheson, who was a subcontractor when the courthouse was built in the 1880s. However, nearly a century after they were installed, the real artist’s signature was discovered during renovations to the exterior of the building. It appears on the pediment depicting a female allegory of justice where the front wall peaks into a gable. Henry Plasschaert was a leading terra cotta artist who eventually became the Professor of Sculpture at the School of Industrial Art in Pennsylvania. There are six allegorical terra cotta panels to the right of the tower
Arts: angels with musical instruments, a score, painter’s brushes, etc.
Manufacture: measuring instruments and gears.
Justice (2 panels): a sword for defense of the law and a set of scales for fairness– both surmounted by a lion’s head, representing the authority of the Crown.
Agriculture: sheaf of wheat, a plough and fruit.
Architecture: a compass and other measuring instruments represent architecture.
Arrow points to Signature Henry Plasschaert
Terra Cotta figures
G.F. Durand, Architect
George F. Durand was born in 1850 to Scottish parents. His artistic ability encouraged his father to enroll him in Peel’s Art School, London, where after two years of study, specializing in marble sculpturing, Durand began his studies in architecture in apprenticeship with London architect, William Robinson. After completing his apprenticeship, Durand moved to the United States, where he helped with the designs of the New York State Capital Building for a short time.
Elevation: G.F. Durand
In March 1884, George F. Durand (1850-1889) based in London was hired to design new buildings to stand on one of the most prominent sites in the city. He also designed : The Pump House, Skating Rink and General Hospital in Stratford. During his career he did 341 architectural drawings (see Western Libaries).
He was married to Sarah Parker (1851-June 4, 1895). They lived at 554 Waterloo St. London Ont. and had five children. They are buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, London.