Albert Memorial - Prince Albert

Albert Memorial & The Frieze of Parnassus Albert Memorial - Prince Albert

Erection date: 1875


{Around the canopy, below its cornice, reading anticlockwise starting with the east face:}
To the memory of Albert Prince Consort,
As a tribute of their gratitude,
For a life devoted to the public good,
Queen Victoria and her people.

{Below the feet:}

{On the base of the statue, back left:}
H. Prince. founder. Southwark. 1875.

The bronze statue of Albert was originally gilded but this was removed in WW1 (or just never got renewed) and the statue was effectively black until the whole monument was restored in the 1990s and unveiled in October 1998.

This was a troubled commission: the design produced by Marochetti, the sculptor originally chosen, was rejected and then he died. Foley took his place but died before casting was complete, followed only a few months later by the man making the cast, Henry Prince. Foley's assistant Brock completed Foley's work and presumably Prince also had an assistant who took over.

We believe the mosaic work was carried out by the Salviati family.

Site: Albert Memorial & The Frieze of Parnassus (52 memorials)

SW7, Kensington Road

The monument, commissioned by Queen Victoria and designed by George Gilbert Scott, was built 1864-72, and the statue of Albert was installed in 1875. Even for a Victorian edifice the excess of decoration is extraordinary - we suspect the design suffered mission creep.

On the Frieze of Parnassus are depicted 168 men, 1 woman and two dogs, gender unknown. The woman is Nitocris, a historically questionable pharaoh who, it is claimed, built the third pyramid at Giza.

The men are segregated by field of fame. Reading anticlockwise from the south-west corner: Armstead carved the south and east sides, populated with musicians, poets, musicians, painters, grouped by nationality; Philip carved the north and west sides with architects and sculptors, cleverly arranged chronologically so that the Egyptian architects turn the corner in the same space with Egyptian sculptors.

Remarkably the whole Frieze was carved on site. In the selection of the figures, only one exception to the "must be dead" rule was allowed: George Gilbert Scott himself. Actually only 167 men are represented, one of them twice: Michelangelo as a painter and again as a sculptor. The dogs are Hogarth's Trump and a generic greyhound associated with Veronese.

Normally one cannot get close enough to the Frieze to take satisfactory photos but in May 2017 we joined a tour of the monument which gave us the proximity needed. We photographed all the figures in the Frieze but have decided to publish only (with a few exceptions) those already on London Remembers. Many of the others are little-known outside their field and have no connection to London. See Wikipedia for the entire list and some good photos of the whole Frieze.

The monument has many other figures of an allegorical nature, which are well covered at The Library Time Machine. Another page at the Library Time Machine has some interesting photos of the monument under construction.

Ian Visits managed to get a tour of the usually inaccessible undercroft, the structure that supports this monument.

This section lists the subjects commemorated on the memorial on this page:
Albert Memorial - Prince Albert

Subjects commemorated i

Prince Albert

Born Schloss Rosenau, Coburg, Germany, as Albert Francis Augustus Charles Ema...

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This section lists the subjects who helped to create/erect the memorial on this page:
Albert Memorial - Prince Albert

Created by i


Family of mosaic artists from Italy. When they moved into new premises in 189...

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Sir Thomas Brock

Sculptor. Born in Worcester.  Ornamental Passions has some comments on his wo...

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John H. Foley

Born Dublin. Works include: Albert and the group Asia, both at the Albert Mem...

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Henry Prince

The NPG has some information about this engineer/founder: Born c. 1817. Died ...

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Sir George Gilbert Scott

Architect. Born in Gawcott, Buckinghamshire. Often styled 'Sir Gilbert Scott'...

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Show all 6

This section lists the other memorials at the same location as the memorial on this page:
Albert Memorial - Prince Albert

Also at this site i

Nearby Memorials

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Bart's War Memorial

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