Statue

Frieze of Parnassus - Titian

Erection date: 1872

Inscription

Titian

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 - Titian

Subjects commemorated i

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

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 - Titian

Also at this site i

Nearby Memorials

Robert Peel statue

Robert Peel statue

SW1, Parliament Square

The Victorian Web's entry on this statue focuses on the tightness of Peel's trousers.

1 subject commemorated, 2 creators
Montgomery statue

Montgomery statue

SW1, Whitehall, Raleigh Green

Unveiled by the Queen Mother (photo here).

1 subject commemorated, 2 creators
Frieze of Parnassus - Stone

Frieze of Parnassus - Stone

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 instal...

1 subject commemorated, 1 creator
Lord Portal

Lord Portal

SW1, Victoria Embankment, Victoria Embankment Gardens - Whitehall section

Unveiled by Harold Macmillan.

2 subjects commemorated, 1 creator
Temple Bar - Charles II

Temple Bar - Charles II

EC4, Paternoster Square

We found the following at Discovering Dickens "An 18th-century account of it, from Harrison’s New and Universal History, Description and...

1 subject commemorated, 1 creator