Devoted to the unexpected details that help to make life in the city worth living
Saturday, 14 September 2013
Admiralty Arch SW1
Admiralty Arch is one end of the transformation of the Mall into a national monument to Queen Victoria, which also included the refacing of Buckingham Palace and the Victoria Memorial.
The sculptor for the project was Sir Thomas Brock, the man who produced more sculpture for Imperial London than almost anyone else but is now almost forgotten. As the most prominent, almost official, sculptor of the Victorian age he dropped out of favour when the very word 'Victorian' became a term of derision and somehow never came back when the architecture was rehabilitated.
Which is a shame as his figures have considerable strength and nobility.
The allegorical females on either side of Admiralty Arch were unveiled in 1911. They represent Navigation on the north side and Gunnery on the south.
Both wear billowing robes with what look like corsets underneath. Navigation holds a sextant. Gunnery wears a helmet and cradles a whacking great cannon in her lap, which must be dreadfully heavy though she seems to be unaware of its weight.