List of public art in Kensington Gardens

This is a list of public art in Kensington Gardens, one of the Royal Parks of London.

When the contemporary sculptor Anish Kapoor held an exhibition of his work in the gardens in 2010 he remarked that they are "the best site in London for a piece of art, probably [the best] in the world".[1]

City of Westminster

Image Title / subject Location and
DateArtist / designerArchitect / other Type Designation Notes
Coalbrookdale Gates South Carriage Drive

51°30′08″N 0°10′29″W
1851John BellCharles Crookes Gates, cast iron Grade II Made in Coalbrookdale for the Great Exhibition of 1851. Installed at the entrance to Lancaster Walk in 1852 and moved to their present location in 1871, during construction of the Albert Memorial.[2]
Queen’s Gate Queen’s Gate

51°30′06″N 0°10′49″W
1858?N/A Gates and piers, cast iron Grade II* [3]

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Statue of Edward Jenner Italian Gardens, Kensington Gardens

51°30′38″N 0°10′31″W
1858William Calder MarshallJames Pennethorne Statue Grade II Unveiled by Prince Albert in Trafalgar Square in 1858. After pressure from anti-vaccinationists the statue was moved in 1862 to the Italian Gardens at Kensington,[4] which were conceived by Albert and laid out by Pennethorne. The rest of the sculpture in the ensemble is by John Thomas.[5]

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Speke’s Monument
John Hanning Speke
Junction of Lancaster Walk and Budges Walk, Kensington Gardens

51°30′32″N 0°10′45″W
1864N/APhilip Hardwick Obelisk Grade II A red granite obelisk, an appropriate form of commemoration for an explorer so associated with the River Nile. The pedestal inscribed IN MEMORY OF/ SPEKE/ VICTORIA[,] NYANZA/ AND THE NILE/ 1864. The phrasing avoids crediting Speke with the discovery of the Nile’s source, as this was a contentious point.[6]

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Physical Energy Junction of Lancaster Walk and several other walkways, Kensington Gardens

51°30′24″N 0°10′42″W
1907 (installed)George Frederic WattsN/A Equestrian statue Grade II Installed 24 September 1907. Developed by Watts from his equestrian bronze Hugh Lupus (1870–84) for the Duke of Westminster. Gifted to the nation on Watts’s death in 1904, though the cast had not yet been made from the gesso model (now in the Watts Gallery). An earlier bronze cast was incorporated into the Rhodes Memorial (1906–12) in Cape Town, South Africa.[7]

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Statue of Peter Pan West of the Long Water, Kensington Gardens

51°30′31″N 0°10′34″W
1912George FramptonN/A Statue Grade II* Unveiled in secret on May Day 1912. The character’s creator, J. M. Barrie, commissioned the sculpture and chose the site, which is Peter’s landing point in the book Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. Questions were raised in Parliament about the propriety of an author promoting his work in this way.[2][8]

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Memorial to Esme Percy Palace Gate

51°30′07″N 0°11′02″W
1961Silvia GilleyN/A Drinking fountain with sculpture N/A A small bronze figure of a terrier on a platform rising from the centre of a shallow circular pool.[9]

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Two Bears Junction of North Flower Walk and Budges Walk, near the Italian Gardens, Kensington Gardens

51°30′39″N 0°10′35″W
1970?N/A Drinking fountain with sculpture N/A Statue of two embracing bears originally placed in 1939 to commemorate 80 years of the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association. The original was stolen but was replaced with a copy in 1970.[10]
St Govor’s Well Off the Broad Walk, Kensington Gardens

51°30′12″N 0°11′04″W
1976?N/A Drinking fountain N/A Inscribed: This drinking fountain marks the site of an ancient spring, which in 1856 was named St Govor’s Well by the First Commissioner of Works, later to become Lord Llanover. Saint Govor, a sixth-century hermit, was the patron saint of a church in Llanover which had eight wells in its churchyard.[11] The spring's name also appears as "St Gover's Well". It was thought to have medicinal properties.[12]

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The Arch 1979–1980 North bank of the Long Water, Kensington Gardens

51°30′27″N 0°10′24″W
1979–1980Henry MooreN/A Sculpture N/A Presented by Moore to the nation for installation in Kensington Gardens in 1980, two years after his eightieth birthday exhibition in the nearby Serpentine Gallery. Dismantled in 1996 due to structural instability and re-erected in 2012.[13]
Memorial to Diana, Princess of Wales Forecourt of the Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens

51°30′16″N 0°10′31″W
1997Ian Hamilton FinlayPeter Coates and Andrew Whittle (lettering) Floor plaque, tree plaque and eight stone benches N/A Pastoral poetry is inscribed on each element of the work. The plaque at the entrance of the gallery is inscribed with the names of trees found at Kensington Gardens a quotation from the eighteenth-century philosopher Francis Hutcheson.[14] Diana was a patron of the Serpentine Gallery.[15]
Trumpet (or the Tiffany Drinking Fountain) Junction of the Broad Walk and Mount Walk, Kensington Gardens

51°30′17″N 0°11′07″W
2012N/ABen Addy (of Moxon Architects) Drinking fountain N/A The winner, alongside Watering Holes in Green Park, of a RIBA-judged design competition; it was commended for its "formal clarity and elegance".[16] Of the two designs this was thought to be the more "design-led" and Watering Holes the more "art-led".[17]

Albert Memorial

Image Title / subject Location and
DateArtist / designerArchitect / other Type Designation Notes

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Frieze of Parnassus Podium of the Albert Memorial 1864–1872Henry Hugh Armstead and John Birnie PhilipGeorge Gilbert Scott Relief sculpture Grade I Depicts 169 individual architects, composers, painters, poets, and sculptors from history.[18]

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Asia Albert Memorial

51°30′08″N 0°10′39″W
1865–1871John Henry FoleyGeorge Gilbert Scott Sculptural group Grade I A personification of the continent, seated on an Indian elephant, removes a veil to reveal herself. Flanking her are an Indian soldier, a Persian poet, a Chinese potter and a Turkish merchant.[19]

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Africa Albert Memorial

51°30′09″N 0°10′39″W
1865–1871William TheedGeorge Gilbert Scott Sculptural group Grade I A figure in Egyptian costume, representing the continent, rests on a camel. Beside her are an Arabian merchant, a figure sometimes identified as a Nubian, a female European and a tribesman.[20]

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America Albert Memorial

51°30′09″N 0°10′41″W
1865–1871John BellGeorge Gilbert Scott Sculptural group Grade I The personification of America rides a bison charging forward, guided by the sceptre of the United States, identified by her starry sash. The other figures represent Canada, Mexico and South America.[21]

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Europe Albert Memorial

51°30′08″N 0°10′41″W
1865–1871Patrick MacDowellGeorge Gilbert Scott Sculptural group Grade I Europa, seated on a bull, carries an orb and sceptre signifying her continent's imperial dominance in the nineteenth century. Around her sit Britannia with a trident, France with a sword and laurel wreath, Germany with an open book and Italy with a lyre and palette.[22]
Agriculture Albert Memorial 1865–1871William Calder MarshallGeorge Gilbert Scott Sculptural group Grade I A husbandman, flanked on either side by figures representing livestock farming (a shepherd boy with a lamb and an ewe) and cereal production, looks up to a female personification of Agriculture.[23]
Commerce Albert Memorial 1865–1871Thomas ThornycroftGeorge Gilbert Scott Sculptural group Grade I The group consists of Commerce, bearing a cornucopia, a young merchant in "Anglo-Saxon" dress (said to be modelled on the sculptor′s son Hamo), an Eastern merchant and a rustic with a sack of corn.[24]
Engineering Albert Memorial 1865–1871John LawlorGeorge Gilbert Scott Sculptural group Grade I The presiding genius of engineering directs three workers: an engineer with plan in hand, a mechanical engineer with a cogwheel, and a navvy. The two bridges over the Menai Strait are represented at the back of the group.[25]
Manufactures Albert Memorial 1865–1871Henry WeekesGeorge Gilbert Scott Sculptural group Grade I A female personification of manufactures, accompanied by a blacksmith, looks down on two child labourers, one a factory girl and the other a young potter, representing art manufactures.[26]

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Mosaics Tympana, spandrels and vault of the canopy, Albert Memorial 1866–1868John Richard Clayton with Salviati and Co.George Gilbert Scott Mosaics Grade I The enthroned female figures in the tympana are identified by their inscriptions as Pictura, Poesis, Sculptura and Architectura; the last displays the design of the Albert Memorial itself.[27]
Virtues Flèche of the Albert Memorial 1867–1870James RedfernGeorge Gilbert Scott Statues Grade I Personifications of the seven virtues along with an eighth, Humanity. Redfern's plaster models were electroformed in copper by Francis Skidmore’s ironworking firm in Coventry. The resulting figures were gilded after being mounted on the memorial.[28][29]
Sciences Corners of the Albert Memorial 1868 c.1868Henry Hugh Armstead and John Birnie PhilipGeorge Gilbert Scott Statues Grade I In niches on a level with the spandrels are Armstead’s Rhetoric and Medicine and Philip’s Philosophy and Physiology. Below them, standing on column shafts, are Philip’s Geometry and Geology and Armstead’s Astronomy and Chemistry.[30]

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Statue of Albert, Prince Consort Albert Memorial

51°30′09″N 0°10′39″W
1871–1876John Henry Foley and Thomas BrockGeorge Gilbert Scott Statue Grade I Foley was given the commission in 1868 after the death of Carlo Marochetti. Working in the open on the model gave Foley the sickness which ultimately killed him in 1874, and the work was completed by his pupil Brock.[18]

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Image Title / subject Location and
DateArtist / designerArchitect / other Type Designation Notes

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Statue of Queen Victoria Kensington Palace 1893Princess Louise, Duchess of ArgyllN/A Statue Grade II Sculpted by the Queen’s daughter, the statue depicts Victoria aged 18 and wearing her coronation robes. The statue was a gift from the Kensington Golden Jubilee Memorial Executive Committee.[31]

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Statue of William III Kensington Palace 1907Heinrich BauckeAston Webb Statue Grade II A gift from Kaiser Wilhelm II.[32]

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Elfin Oak Kensington Gardens 1930Ivor InnesN/A Sculptures Grade II [33]
Lion and Unicorn Kensington Palace (entrance) 18th centuryN/A Statues Grade II [34]

See also


  1. Gayford, Martin (28 September 2010). "It's the location of Anish Kapoor's 'Sky Mirror' that counts". The Telegraph. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
  2. "Monuments in Kensington Gardens". The Royal Parks. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  3. Historic England. "Gates, Gatepiers and Railings to Queen's Gate (1217606)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  4. "Jenner statue". London Remembers. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  5. Banerjee, Jacqueline (2006). "The Italian Garden in Kensington Gardens". The Victorian Web. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
  6. Banerjee, Jacqueline. "Speke Monument". The Victorian Web. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
  7. Brown, Stephanie (2007). G. F. Watts, Physical Energy, Sculpture and Site. Studies in the Art of George Frederic Watts. Compton, Surrey: Watts Gallery. pp. 15–37.
  8. "Peter Pan statue—a piece of Neverland". The Royal Parks. Archived from the original on 9 July 2011. Retrieved 28 August 2011.
  9. "Kensington Gardens". Secret London. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  10. "Kensington Gardens". Secret London. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  11. Furlong, David (2010). "London′s Holy Wells". Sacred Sites. Archived from the original on 9 November 2013. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  12. Forder 2012, p. 82
  13. "The Arch by Henry Moore". The Royal Parks Foundation. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  14. "Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, London". Peter Coates. Archived from the original on 6 February 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
  15. "About us". Serpentine Gallery. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
  16. "Trumpet Drinking Fountain". The Royal Parks Foundation. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
  17. "Robin Monotti Architects Win Tiffany & Co & Royal Parks Drinking Fountain Competition". Robin Monotti Architects. 7 November 2010. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  18. Sheppard, F. H. W., ed. (1975). "Albert Memorial: The memorial". Survey of London: volume 38: South Kensington Museums Area. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
  19. Brooks 2000, p. 244
  20. Brooks 2000, p. 246
  21. Brooks 2000, p. 249
  22. Brooks 2000, p. 242
  23. Brooks 2000, p. 222
  24. Brooks 2000, p. 226
  25. Brooks 2000, pp. 226–229
  26. Brooks 2000, p. 255
  27. Brooks 2000, p. 305
  28. "Photograph: Figure of Faith". Victoria and Albert Museum. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  29. Speel, Bob. "James Frank Redfern (1838–1876)". Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  30. Brooks 2000, pp. 218–219
  31. "Queen Victoria Statue". The Royal Parks. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  32. "King William III statue". The Royal Parks. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  33. "Elfin Oak". The Royal Parks. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  34. Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1223784)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 26 January 2019.


  • Brooks, Chris, ed. (2000), The Albert Memorial: The Prince Consort National Memorial: Its History, Contexts and Conservation, London and New Haven: Yale University Press
  • Forder, Helen (2012), High Hats and Harps: The life and times of Lord and Lady Llanover, Tonypandy: TallyBerry
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