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.

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We’re kicking off a new special series next Wednesday but in the meantime we thought we’d recap our latest series – 10 (more) curious London memorials, and the previous series, 10 curious London memorials…

So, first for the 10 (more) curious London memorials list…

10. Memorial to 16th century navigators…

9. The Speke Monument…

8. The SOE Memorial…

7. D’Oyly Carte Memorial…

6. 7 July Memorial…

5. National Police Memorial…

4. ‘People of London’ Memorial…

3. William Wallace Memorial…

2. Animals in War Memorial…

1. Kindertransport memorial…

And, for the first curious London memorials list, which we ran way back in 2011…

10. The Bard or not The Bard?

9. The Golden Boy of Pye Corner

8. Edith Cavell Memorial

7. Tower Hill scaffold memorial

6. The Buxton Memorial Fountain

5. Eros (or the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain)

4. The Suffragette Memorial

3. Charing Cross

2. The Albert Memorial

1. Watt’s Memorial in Postman’s Park

Hope you’ve enjoyed them. We look forward to bringing you our next series from next Wednesday…

A new statue of former US President Ronald Reagan was unveiled in Grosvenor Square near the US embassy on Monday, 4th July. The 10 foot tall bronze statue of the president, who died in 2004, was unveiled at a private ceremony by the Foreign Secretary William Hague – former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were also among the more than 2,000 people who attended along with current US ambassador Louis Susman (a frail Margaret Thatcher was reportedly too frail to attend). Commissioned by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, the statue is the work of sculptor Chas Fagan. Its unveiling is one of a series of events marking the centenary of the birth of the former actor turned politician.

Pall Mall and St James Street in the West End were opened to two-way traffic this week for the first time in 50 years. The changeover came into effect last Sunday morning. The roads were made one-way in 1963 under a scheme to deal with increasing traffic in the area. But it has been reopened in the first stage of a £14 million overhaul of traffic around Piccadilly Circus – home to world-famous neon billboards and the Eros Statue. The area is visited by 200,000 every day.

Time to get your togs on. Scores of swimmers will be taking the plunge at the Hampstead Heath Lido tomorrow and Saturday to raise funds for the Lord Mayor’s Appeal, Bear Necessities. A 4,000 metre swim, the City Dip, will be swum by teams and individuals with every swimmer receiving a commemorative certificate and medal. The current Lord Mayor of London is Michael Bear. To sign up or for more information, see  www.lordmayorsappeal.org.uk/dip

On Now: Eyewitness: Hungarian Photography in the 20th Century – Brassaï, Capa, Kertész, Moholy-Nagy, MunkácsiThis new exhibition at the Royal Academy of the Arts at Burlington House in Piccadilly, organised to mark the Hungarian Presidency of the EU, is dedicated to the birth of modern photography and features the work of Brassaï, Robert Capa, André Kertész, László Moholy-Nagy and Martin Munkácsi. It comprises more than 200 photographs, dating from 1914 to 1989, which usually form part of the collection of the Hungarian National Museum of Photography as well as the National Museum in Budapest and other public and private collections in both Hungary and the UK. Runs until 2nd October. For more information, see www.royalacademy.org.ukPICTURE: Laszlo Fejes, Wedding, Budapest, 1965, Copyright Hungarian Museum of Photography.

On Now: Shubbak: A Window on Contemporary Arab Culture. London’s first ever celebration of contemporary culture from across the Arab world will feature more than 100 artists involved in 70 events at some 30 venues over the weeks until 24th July. The program includes visual arts, film, music, theatre, dance, literature, architecture, lectures and discussions with many events boasting free admission. Highlights include A Girl in her Room, an exhibition of photo works by highly acclaimed Lebanese/American artist, Rania Matar, at the Mosaic Rooms, one of London’s leading centres for Arab contemporary arts (runs until 23rd July), Shopopolis, a series of collaborations with shoppers at Westfield Shopping Centre (runs until 24th July) and this weekend’s Interference, a series of free films, talks and workshops at the ICA curated by Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha. For full details of all events, see www.london.gov.uk/shubbak.

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.