This was the object that I photographed as I was leaving Kensington Gardens. Well done to MTG for guessing correctly and to Sean and JHL for getting close :-)

Wikipedia states:

The Albert Memorial is situated in Kensington Gardens, London, England, directly to the north of the Royal Albert Hall. It was commissioned by Queen Victoria in memory of her beloved husband, Prince Albert who died of typhoid in 1861. The memorial was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott in the Gothic revival style. Opened in 1872, with the statue of Albert ceremonially “seated” in 1875, the memorial consists of an ornate canopy or pavilion containing a statue of Prince Albert facing south. The memorial is 176 feet tall, took over ten years to complete, and cost £120,000.

Over the years the memorial fell into disrepair and a thorough restoration program had to be carried out to get it looking how it is today.

By the late 1990s the Memorial had fallen into a state of some decay. A thorough restoration was carried out by Mowlem which included cleaning, repainting and re-gilding the entire monument as well as carrying out structural repairs. In the process the cross on top of the monument, which had been put on sideways during an earlier restoration attempt, was returned to its correct position. Some of the restoration, including repairs to damaged friezes, were of limited success.

The centrepiece of the Memorial is a seated figure of Prince Albert. Following restoration, this is now covered in gold leaf. For eighty years the statue had been covered in black paint. Various theories had existed that it was deliberately blackened during World War I to prevent it becoming a target for Zeppelin bombing raids or domestic anti-German sentiment. However, English Heritage’s research prior to the restoration suggests that the black coating pre-dates 1914 and may have been a response to atmospheric pollution that had destroyed the original gold leaf surface.

Further restoration work, including re-pointing the steps surrounding the memorial, commenced in the summer of 2006. For the duration of that work, there is no public access within the ornate surrounding fence.

From a Distance

Up Close

12 Comments CherryPie on Feb 24th 2010

12 Responses to “Kensington Gardens – Albert Memorial”

  1. liz says:

    that second one is a great image. That is a lot of gold leaf!

  2. jameshigham says:

    I wasn’t even in the ballpark, was I?

  3. Ginnie says:

    It’s funny, CP, but I don’t ever remember seeing this, even in pictures. Wow. It’s a stunning memorial.

  4. Yvonne says:

    I love the background to the photos…I think the gold leaf must look so much better then the black

  5. My Dad stood on the steps of it to watch the Coronation of George V1!

  6. Stunning! I;d like to see that place someday.