Statue

Frieze of Parnassus - Weber

Erection date: 1872

Inscription

Weber

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 - Weber

Subjects commemorated i

Carl Maria von Weber

Born Eutin, Germany, died London, from tuberculosis. A sick man he came to Lo...

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

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 - Weber

Also at this site i

Nearby Memorials

Frieze of Parnassus - Purcell

Frieze of Parnassus - Purcell

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
Imperial Hotel - statue 20

Imperial Hotel - statue 20

WC1, Russell Square

On this site there used to be a sister hotel to Hotel Russell, also designed by Charles Fitzroy Doll and erected in 1898. It was demolish...

1 creator
Samuel Bevington statue

Samuel Bevington statue

SE1, Queen Elizabeth Street

The Bevington statue is protected by some nice original railings which seem still to display their original coat of committee green paint.

1 subject commemorated, 1 creator
Mary Seacole steel statue

Mary Seacole steel statue

W2, St Mary's Terrrace

At the southern end of St Mary’s Terrace, beside the bike track, these statues are extremely difficult to photograph, Turing in particula...

1 subject commemorated, 1 creator
Robert Stephenson statue

Robert Stephenson statue

NW1, Euston Road

The scroll in his right hand probably represents engineering designs.

1 subject commemorated, 2 creators