Albert Hall, Francis Fowke and H. Y. D. Scott

Albert Hall, Francis Fowke and H. Y. D. Scott

In many ways Prince Albert, the consort of Queen Victoria, shaped the character of this area, from his support of the Great Exhibition of 1851 to his interest in the art, science and architecture that dominate activities here. He died in 1861 and his monument is a typical High Victorian amalgamation of styles, materials, detailing and sentiment, all imbued with self-confidence and bravura. Fifty-three metres high, and with more than 175 life-size or larger sculptures, the memorial is encrusted from top to toe in decoration in every media. The gilded bronze statue of Albert, over four metres high, forms the apex of a pyramid of sculptures representing the ideals, aspirations and achievements of his age. Marble groups representing Europe, Africa, America and Asia reflect colonial expansion. The arts, including Pottery, Painting and Sculpture, are shown in the frieze. Symbolic statues of Geometry, Astronomy, Chemistry and Medicine bear witness to Prince Albert’s scientific interests. There are allegorical figures of Commerce, Engineering, Manufactures and Agriculture, and in his hand Albert holds the catalogue to the Great Exhibition, his greatest achievement. The whole glittering ensemble is topped with a Gothic Revival spire decorated with angels. Yet, despite this, Albert was not buried here, but at the Mausoleum at Frogmore, near Windsor. The whole memorial was extensively restored in the 1990s by English Heritage.