Queen-Alexandra-MemorialErected to the memory of Queen Alexandra, the consort of King Edward VII, the memorial – an ornate bronze screen – is located on the exterior of the garden wall of Marlborough House – the Queen’s former home – in Marlborough Road, opposite St James’ Palace.

Queen-Alexandra-Memorial-smallThe now Grade I-listed bronze memorial, which is the work of Alfred Gilbert and was erected in 1932, is sometimes described as London’s only Art Nouveau statue.

It depicts a central figure, described as “Love Enthroned”, supporting a young girl (perhaps a symbol of the Queen’s support for the next generation), and attended by two crowned bowing figures which it’s believed represent faith and hope. An inscription – “Faith, hope, love – The guiding virtues of Queen Alexandra” – sits below.

The memorial was unveiled on 8th June, 1932, with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Cosmo Gordon Lang, in attendance. Queen Alexandra’s Memorial Ode, composed by Sir Edward Elgar, was first performed at the ceremony.

The memorial was the last public artwork to be completed by Gilbert, noted for having also created what is arguably London’s most famous statue – that of Eros in Piccadilly (see our earlier post here), who was knighted by King George V after the unveiling.

The Queen lived at the property during her widowhood until her death in 1925.

Apologies – we neglected to put in the link! Now corrected.

Situated in the heart of Piccadilly Circus, the Eros statue has become an icon of London. Yet few of those who cluster around this iconic figurine realise that the aluminium statue (a rarity in itself) is actually a memorial, not to mention that it wasn’t intended to represent Eros at all.

The monument – which also features a bronze fountain below – was erected in the late nineteenth century to commemorate Anthony Ashley-Cooper, the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury and a well-regarded Christian reformer and philanthropist of the Victorian era, and is formerly known as the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain.

Designed by Alfred Gilbert and unveiled in 1893, the winged figure holding a bow was apparently actually intended to represent Eros’ brother, Anteros – a Greek god associated with selfless love as opposed to his brother Eros, who is associated with erotic love – and, according to some, bore the name The Angel of Christian Charity, which makes sense given the man whom it is intended to commemorate.

While the statue attracted controversy when it was first unveiled thanks not least to its nudity, it has stood in Piccadilly Circus ever since (or at least mostly ever since – there have been a couple of brief periods such as when it was moved while Piccadilly Underground station was built and during World War II when it was moved for safe-keeping). It was restored in the 1980s.

A copy of the fountain and statue by Gilbert was later placed in Liverpool’s Sefton Park.