Statue

Frieze of Parnassus - Arne

Erection date: 1872

Inscription

Arne

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:
Frieze of Parnassus - Arne

Subjects commemorated i

Thomas Augustine Arne

Composer. Born in King Street, Covent Garden. Wrote "Rule Britannia" in t...

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This section lists the subjects who helped to create/erect the memorial on this page:
Frieze of Parnassus - Arne

Created by i

Henry Hugh Armstead

Sculptor and illustrator. Born Bloomsbury. Executed a large number of public ...

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This section lists the other memorials at the same location as the memorial on this page:
Frieze of Parnassus - Arne

Also at this site i

Albert Memorial - Prince Albert

Albert Memorial - Prince Albert

The bronze statue of Albert was originally gilded but this was removed in WW1...

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Nearby Memorials

George II statue at Greenwich

George II statue at Greenwich

SE10, Old Royal Naval College, Grand Square

This statue is made of a single piece of marble weighing 11 tons. As was the fashion at the time the king is depicted wearing the militar...

2 subjects commemorated, 2 creators
Burlington House - da Vinci

Burlington House - da Vinci

W1, Piccadilly, Royal Academy

This building is commonly known as the Royal Academy (of Arts). The wings of the building are occupied by a number of learned societies, ...

1 subject commemorated, 1 creator
Sigmund Freud statue

Sigmund Freud statue

NW3, Fitzjohn's Avenue, Tavistock Clinic

Nemon sculpted Freud for this statue in 1931 in Vienna and there it was intended to be erected. Both subject and sculptor fled from the N...

1 subject commemorated, 1 creator
Dowding

Dowding

WC2, Strand

Unveiled by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother on 31 October 1988, as a Spitfire flew over.

2 subjects commemorated, 3 creators
Captain Richard Maples

Captain Richard Maples

E1, Mile End Road, Trinity Almshouses - green north of church

This B&W photo is from London Picture Archive where it is captioned: "Trinity Almshouses, statue of Captain Richard Maples, removed f...

1 subject commemorated, 1 creator