Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Albert Memorial - London

Albert Memorial in Hyde Park in London, opposite the Royal Albert Hall.

This photo up the Albert Memorial in London is part of one of the panoramic images found on the Tour of London. There are over 100 images taken from around London linked to an interactive map.

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The Albert Memorial is located in Kensington Gardens in Hyde Park, just opposite the Royal Albert Hall. These, like the Victoria and Albert Museum, were built by Queen Victoria in memory of her consort Albert who died of typhoid in 1861. This memorial is also a memorial to the Victorian era, mindset and powerbase at the time as it is packed with allegory. This end of the park is far less visited than the area around Hyde Park Corner, which means that at least you will have the time to explore it fully.

‘Explore’ does not mean that you are able to clamber upon it, but there are so many facets to the memorial that it deserves some time. The Albert Memorial opened in 1872 and is designed in Gothic Revival fashion with a large figure of Prince Albert seated ceremonially at the centre of the ornate canopy, holding a catalogue of the Great Exhibition of 1851. Above Albert's head are allegorical figures of Agriculture, Manufacture, Engineering, and Commerce. Representations of the morals of the Victorian era continue up the pinnacle including Faith, Hope, Charity, and Humility nearest the top. The whole is about 175 feet high.

The Albert Memorial is surrounded by four flights of steps leading up to the pavilion, and at the corners of each of these groups of statues represent the four continents of Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas. The pavilion base is surrounded by the Frieze of Parnassus, an elaborate composition showing 169 individual architects, composers, painters, poets, and sculptors, thus celebrating the Victorian Arts.

Four grey granite pillars support the canopy. Each one is cut from a single stone gray granite from Castle Wellan Quarries, Northern Ireland, weighs about 17 tons and took 8 men 20 weeks to polish. Surrounding these are red granite pillars from Ross of Mull. The capitals are of Darley Dale stone and the Arches made from Portland Stone. Albert is seated on a pedestal made of pink granite and marble.

During WWI the Albert Memorial was painted black but restoration has seen all the splendour and colour restored, Albert is now covered in gold leaf.

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The full panoramic image showing Hyde Park and the view over to the Royal Albert Hall can be found on the London tour by An enlargement of this photo can be found on Flickr.

For more articles on London see the London Index or select one of the labels at the bottom.

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