Queen Alexandra

Every morning I walk past a grand and ostentatious statue in Marlborough Gate, which I have always studiously ignored.   I was quite wrong.   Looked at more closely, it turns out that it is a late work by Alfred Gilbert, the sculptor of Eros, former student of the Royal Academy Schools and of the École des Beaux Arts in Paris, who was forced to resign from the Academy in 1908 else be expelled (he took money for commissions which never materialised).   The monument is wonderful, a grand work of late flowering art nouveau, with cobwebbed figures of Faith, Hope and Love, commemorating Queen Alexandra, the Danish wife of Edward VII.   She had pleaded Gilbert’s cause with the King, sent him funds in exile and caused him to be reinstated as an RA.   It’s not surprising that the monument is full of feeling:

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