The Albert Memorial
The Albert Memorial can be found in the Kensington Gardens in London, and is a commemorative statue to Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's husband, who died of Typhoid in 1861. The statue, commissioned by Queen Victoria herself, was unveiled in 1872, and cost a whopping £120,000 (the equivalent of around £10million today), all of which was paid by public donations! Anyone who has lain eyes upon its magnificence will understand the price tag attached - at 176ft tall, it is without a doubt one of London's most ornate sculptures, and is guaranteed to take your breath away. It consists of an ornate, Gothic canopy, in the style of a Gothic 'Ciborium', which stands over church alters. Beneath this canopy is a bronze (now gold-leaf) statue of the Prince himself, seated and looking exceedingly regal in all his shining glory, which was made by Irish sculptor John Henry Foley, and not added to the memorial until 1875.
After Prince Albert had died, it took a whole two years of meetings and considerations before George Gilbert Scott was chosen to design the memorial in April 1863. There are other, similar memorials dedicated to Prince Albert, including one in Manchester, and it is difficult to tell which came first, but George Gilbert Scott insisted it was his. Unfortunately the memorial suffered some unavoidable damage over the years, and had fallen into a pretty bad state by late 1990s. It was thoroughly and diligently restored, which included carrying out structural repairs as well as cleaning, repainting and re-gilding the entire monument. During this restoration, a cross on top of the monument, which had been put on sideways during an earlier restoration, was finally put back in the correct position.
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