Fountain (lost): Poets’ Fountain - Chaucer, Shakespeare & Milton
Erection date: 9/7/1875
The seated figures represent the three Muses; the standing figures, the three poets, and Fame blows her trumpet at the top. Three Thornycrofts worked on this rather overblown (good pun?) affair and come 1948 appreciation of its artistic merits had faded. It was removed and the only known surviving element is Fame which went to Renishaw Hall, the Sitwells' family home.
Given the Park Lane Group's connection with the Sitwells we think the Sitwells must have had a house in the area but we cannot find confirmation. Why else would they want, or be able to acquire, this trumpeting lady? We plan a Fame-hunting visit to Renishaw Hall this summer and will report our findings.
Site: Poets’ Fountain - Chaucer, Shakespeare & Milton (1 memorial)
W1, Hamilton Place
The location of this monument is described in British History On-line as where Hamilton Place and (Old) Park Lane meet. All the images we've seen show it forming a mini-roundabout so we guess it was at the centre of the little roundabout which is there now. The figure of Shakespeare took prime position, facing the park.
This monument was erected as part of a Victorian road widening scheme. The north end of Hamilton Place used to be a dead end, not extending far enough north to meet up with (Old) Park Lane. It was extended, across what used to be a corner of Hyde Park, up to this roundabout, to provide extra capacity for traffic.
One image comes from Brit Movie who have captured a screen shot from the 1948 film Enchantment. (2018: we saw this movie - this shot is included in the very first image of the film - a left-to-right pan showing the ruined buildings around this monument.) The damage in the background is presumably from war-time bombs. The other image, from Historic England, is dated 1875-1900 and taken from a view-point just slightly further to the south.
Our source for much of our information is the magnificent work 'Public Sculpture of Historic Westminster: Volume 1' by Philip Ward-Jackson.
And what's on the site now? 2016: 3 cherry trees plus one empty pit where there was, until recently, a fourth (confirmed with Google Street View). And at the centre a very decorative lamp-post. The shaft is entwined with branches of oak leaves, and the base with the logo for the British parliament, a crowned portcullis. (A portcullis without the crown is the symbol for the City of Westminster.) With this clue we think the lamppost might be one of the pieces of the bomb-damaged House of Commons, which were acquired by various people in the know, and re-used.