Albert Memorial London England about 1892

THE ALBERT MEMORIAL LONDON — One of the most magnificent monuments in the world is the structure outlined in this illustration. It is the “Albert Memorial,” erected to the memory of the Prince Consort (husband of Queen Victoria), partly by the Government and partly by voluntary contributions at a cost of $600,000. The very foundation of this monument alone repays an hour’s close examination. Broad granite steps lead up on every side to a spacious platform, at the four corners of which are fine colossal groups of statuary, representing the four great divisions of our globe, Europe, Asia, Africa and America. The pedestal itself is nothing less than wonderful in its elaborate display of marble statues in relief encircling the entire monument. There are 169 of these figures, representing the world’s greatest artists since the dawn of history, including Painters, Musicians, Poets, Architects, Sculptors, Heroes and Reformers. In one place, for example, Homer, the Father of Poetry, is portrayed, holding the lyre, while near to him in attitudes of reverent attention are Virgil, Dante, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Milton and Boccaccio. In another section are grouped Michael Angelo, Donatello, John of Bologna, Benvenuto Cellini, and other sculptors of the Renaissance. At last above all this rises to the height of 175 feet a gorgeously decorated Gothic canopy, beneath which is seated a colossal statue of the Prince Consort, fifteen feet in height and made of gilded bronze. The excessive amount of ornamentation in mosaic and gilding on this canopy may be criticised, but there is no doubt of the grand and imposing effect produced by the lower portion of this superb memorial. The question naturally arises, however, whether it is an appropriate structure to commemorate Prince Albert. He was unquestionably a worthy man, a patron of art, an upright Prince, and the husband of the Queen; but when a man is honored thus by one of the finest structures on the globe, we look for other qualities than these. Such a memorial as this, beneath which stand as ministers the master-spirits of the world, and to whom four great continents do reverence, is worthy of being an offering of the whole Anglo Saxon race to Shakespeare, or better still, a universal tribute to the Leaders of Humanity in its slow upward march toward light and truth. (from John L. Stoddard, Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man – 1892)

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