Statue

Frieze of Parnassus - Murillo

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

Erection date: 1872

Inscription

Murillo

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 - Murillo

Subjects commemorated i

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

Artist. Born in Seville. Best known for his religious works, he also produced...

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

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 - Murillo

Also at this site i

Nearby Memorials

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Prince Edward Duke of Kent

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Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, IV son of George III, born Nov. 2 1765, died Jan. 23 1820. Erected by the supporters of the numerous charit...

1 subject commemorated, 1 creator
Nigel Gresley statue

Nigel Gresley statue

N1, King's Cross Station, King's Cross Station

Our photo shows the statue shortly after unveiling, with only a temporary notice. By February 2017 this had been replaced with a plaque. ...

1 subject commemorated, 2 creators
City of London School 0 - More

City of London School 0 - More

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We've listed the statues left to right across the front of the building, with More all on his lonesome on the west (left) facade.  The 1...

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Hotel Russell - Queen Victoria

Hotel Russell - Queen Victoria

WC1, Russell Square, 1-8

This ornate extravaganza, designed by the splendidly named Fitzroy Doll, was built in 1898. Ornamental Passions has a good post about the...

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King's Cross statue of George IV

King's Cross statue of George IV

N1, Gray's Inn Road, King's Cross junction

Our image (1835 by George Sidney Shepherd) comes from View from the Mirror where you can find an introduction to the history of the King'...

1 subject commemorated, 1 creator