The monument, designed by architect Horace Jones, replaces the Temple Bar Gate, which was demolished in 1878 (and rebuild near St. Paul's Cathedral). It consists of an elaborate pedestal in a Neo-Renaissance style with at the top sculpture of a dragon (commonly referred to as Griffin), with the coat of arms of the City of London with the motto 'Domine dirige nos'. The dragon is sculpted by Birch. Below the dragon is the text referring to the gate:
temble bar - formerly - stood here - mdccclxxx.
On either of the long sides are niches with statues by by Boehm. Beneath these statues are bronze reliefs, sculpted by C.H. Mabey (1) and C.S. Kelsey (2):
Both statues are flanked by pilasters with emblems of Science and Art. Both are almost identical, only the bust at the top of the 'Art' frieze is Geoffrey Chaucer - chaucer - (Wikipedia) at the south side, and Homeros - ομηρος - (Wikipedia) at the north side.
- South: Queen Victoria (London 1819 - Osborne House 1901),
Queen of Great-Britain, 1837-1901
Relief: Victoria's procession to the City after her accession. Inscribed at the bottom: queen victoria's progress to the guildhall, london, nov. 9th 1837
- North: The Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII (London 1841 - London 1910), King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India, 1901-1910
Relief: Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales on their way to St. Paul's Cathedral for a service of thanksgiving for the prince's recovery from a serious illness. The inscription at the top and bottom reads: her most gracious majesty queen victoria and his royal highness albert edward prince of wales - going to st. paul's february 27 1872
Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales were in 1872 the last royals to enter the City through Wren's gate.
The small sides have the pilasters with emblems of WAR and PEACE, between them a portrait medaillon and at the base bronze reliefs (by Mabey):
- West: In the center a medallion portrait of Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale (1864-1892, eldest son of the Prince of Wales, Wikipedia) on west side, with above him a crown with a lion, and below him a depiction of St. George slaying the dragon.
Relief: text shield flanked by Gog and Magog. On the shield is the text "Under the direction | of the Committee for Letting | the City Lands of the Corporation | of London | John Thomas Bedford Esq.re Chairman | The West Side of the plinth is coincident | with the West side of Temple Bar and the Centre | Line from West to East through the | Gateway thereof was 3 feet 10 inches | Southward of the Broad | Arrow here marked | Messrs. John Mowlem, & Co Contractors | Horace Jones vpriba Architect to the | Corporation of London."
The edge is of the relief is inscribed: "This Memorial of Temple Bar was - Erected during the Mayoralty of the Right Honourable Sir Francis - Wyatt Truscott Knt."
Below this shield is the name CITY OF LONDON.
- East: side friezes with emblems of WAR and PEACE. In the center a medallion portrait of Lord Mayor Sir Francis Wyatt Truscott (1824-1895, mayor of London, 1879-1880), between his coat of arms and the order of ....
Relief: "Time and Fortune Draw a Curtain Over Temple Bar". View of Wren's Temple Bar. Inscribed at the edges: "Temple Bar Erected - 1672 by Sir C. Wren Arch. Removed 1878 This Memorial Erected 1880 by Horace Jones - Arch. v.p.r.i.b.a."
(dragon) c.b. birch. a.r.a. sc. 1880
(north, east and west reliefs) c.h. mabey sculpt. and h. young & co founders pimlico
(south relief) c.s. kelsey & son sculptors 1880 and elkington & co. founders.
The original arch was rebuilt in 2004 near St. Paul's Cathedral (see Temple Bar Gate).
Sources & Information
- Wikipedia, List of public art in the City of London.
- Wikipedia, Temple Bar, London.
- Bob Speel, London sculpture.
- The Victorian Web, Temple Bar Memorial.
- Public Monuments and Sculpture Association, National Recording Project Database.
- Andrew Kershman, London's Monuments (London: Metro Publ., 2013), p. 170.
- Peter Matthews, London's Statues and Monuments (Botley: Shire, 2012), p. 67-68.
Location (N 51°30'49" - W 0°6'42")
Item Code: gblo085; Photograph: 4 August 2014
Of each statue we made photos from various angles and also detail photos of the various texts.
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© Website and photos: René & Peter van der Krogt