The Great Exhibition Memorial in the Snow

The Great Exhibition Memorial, with its black-painted female statues emblematic of the Continents, looks particularly striking in the snow. Our first picture shows the full memorial as first glimpsed walking along the road below, by the Royal College of Music, with the bulk of the Albert Hall behind.

Below are the statues of Europe and America. As seated figures, both have their laps covered with snow. Europe, on the left, has but a light covering on her shoulders, forearm and the drapery on her lower legs, serving to give an extra solidity to the figure. America, perhaps because of her position relative to the wind when the snow fell, is much more covered, emphasising her cloak tossed back over her shoulders, and the stars on her crown.

Snow-covered statues of Europe and America.

Much more exotic, and my favourite works by the sculptor Joseph Durham, are the figures of Asia and Africa, shown in full figure and bust below. Asia has a light powdering of snow over much of her drapes, and on the banana leaf she carries, giving her an entirely different look from her normal appearance. The way the snow lies on her compex headpiece is particularly fortuitous, as is the highlighting of her necklace. The figure of Africa is shown here in profile with the spiky turret and whitened roofs of the Royal School of Music behind. The frontal bust has the snow giving pale reflections on the surface of her body, lightening it, and bringing out the soft contours.

Asia and Africa.

Here is a picture of the Royal College of Music as seen from beside the Exhibition Memorial, a massive building of the 1890s, by the architect Arthur Blomfield, in a rather French style as if some grand medieval castle, set off nicely by even a small amount of snow. The green dome and cupola behind is the top of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Arthur Blomfield's Royal College of Music.

Going down the steps and turning to the left, we have the Royal School of Mines, part of Imperial College. The two massive sculptural groups, the work of P. R. Montford, have a light covering of snow. Below left we see one of the groups, given extra tonal contrast by the snow on the upper surfaces. The heroic figure to the right has the muscular contours of arm and leg brought out by lines of snow, while the girl in her fantastic art nouveau armour in the centre has the snow so placed that it might indicate bright light from the upper left.

Slight snow on P. R. Montford's figures for the Royal School of Mines.

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Albert Memorial in the snow // Victoria Memorial in the snow

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