London – Kensington – Albert Memorial

This is the subtle little memorial that was constructed in Kensington Gardens to honour Prince Albert, following his death in 1861. I’m not sure that many people have had a monument that took ten years to build and cost the modern equivalent of £10 million, although at least that was partly paid for by public subscription. The monument was unveiled by Queen Victoria in July 1872 and it was influenced by the thirteenth century Eleanor Crosses (here’s the one I visited in Waltham Cross).

The statue was originally covered in gold, but this had worn off by the early twentieth century. It wasn’t replaced until relatively recently, in the late 1990s when the regilding was completed. I think it’s all a bit much, but it is a hugely impressive monument. The frieze at the base of the monument has 187 carved figures of various painters, poets, musicians and architects, although the public aren’t allowed that near to it to look at it properly.