Monday, September 20, 2010

Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens

Visitors like myself to Royal Albert Hall will pair it with a visit to the extravagant Albert Memorial across Kensington Road. The memorial was commissioned by Queen Victoria in memory of her husband Prince Albert who died of typhoid in 1861 at age 42. In the open space of Kensington Gardens and at 176 feet tall, the memorial completed in 1876 is an imposing presence.

The memorial is rich in detail. The centerpiece is the gleaming gold leaf statue of Prince Albert. Four sets of marble statues along the memorial perimeter represents the continents (Asia, Africa, America, Europe) while another four sets in the central area represents the industrial arts and sciences (agriculture, commerce, engineering, manufacturing). All around the base are 187 life-sized carved figures of famous architects, composers, painters, poets and sculptors. The canopy features mosaics of the arts and around it reads: Queen Victoria and Her People / To the Memory of Albert Prince Consort / As a Tribute of Their Gratitude / For a Life Devoted to the Public Good.

Public tours of the memorial are offered at 2pm and 3pm every first Sunday of the month from March to December. Tour cost is £5 and lasts about 45 minutes. Click here for more info.

'Asia' sculpture.
Detail of canopy.
'Manufacturing' sculpture.
View of memorial from across Kensington Road.


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