10 of London’s World War I memorials – 5. Royal Artillery Memorial…

September 10, 2014

Royal-Artillery-Memorial

Often deemed to be one of London’s finest war memorials, if not the finest (indeed London Historians’ Mike Paterson has said so previously on these very pages), the Royal Artillery Memorial at Hyde Park Corner commemorates the more than 49,000 members of the Royal Artillery Regiment who died in World War I.

Royal-Artillery-Memorial3Designed by sculptor Charles Sargeant Jagger – who had served in the infantry during the war – and architect Lionel Pearson, it was unveiled in 1925 by Prince Arthur and Anglican priest, Rev Alfred Jarvis.

The monument, described by architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner as a “masterpiece of British 20th century sculpture”, features an oversized stone replica of a 9.2 inch Howitzer Mk I atop a stone plinth accompanied by a series of four realistic bronze figures and a series of carved reliefs depicting scenes of military life.

The figures represent a gun crew: a driver, artillery captain, shell carrier and, controversially at the time, a dead soldier lying beneath his cape and helmet with an inscription from Shakespeare’s Henry V –  “Here was a royal fellowship of death”.

Three bronze panels were later added at the south end of the monument in commemoration of the almost 30,000 of the Royal Artillery who died in World War II. It was unveiled by the then Princess Elizabeth in 1949.

In late 2011, English Heritage completed a major restoration of the Grade I-listed work with a grant from the Bulldog Trust.

PICTURE: Above – David Adams. Below – virtusincertus/Flickr

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5 Responses to “10 of London’s World War I memorials – 5. Royal Artillery Memorial…”

  1. artandarchitecturemainly Says:

    I was very interested in the question of WW1 memorials. Given that their sons and husbands’ bodies were never going to be returned home, parents and widows could only go to memorials like Jaggers to honour their sons. Melbourne’s Jagger monument functioned in the same way.


  2. Excellent exhibition – thanks Mike!


  3. Thanks for the namecheck! May I mention there is an exhibition nearby at the Quadriga Gallery in Wellington Arch featuring six of English Heritage-maintained WW1 memorials: it’s very good.
    http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/wellington-arch/exhibitions-at-the-arch/

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