List of public art in Soho

This is a list of public art in Soho, a district in the City of Westminster, London.

Soho is an area first developed in the 1670s which, since the construction of theatres along Shaftesbury Avenue in the 19th century, has had a strong association with the entertainment industry.[1] In the south of the district stands Leicester Square, the public sculpture of which has had an eventful history. From 1748 the square had as its centrepiece an equestrian figure of George I, but this deteriorated and was sold off at the beginning of the following century.[2] In 1874 the square was bought by Albert Grant, a company promoter and MP, who had its gardens made over to a design by James Knowles.[3] This refurbishment saw the installation of the Shakespeare fountain and busts of four historical residents of the locale: Isaac Newton, William Hogarth, Joshua Reynolds and John Hunter. Each of these busts was positioned near the site of its subject's former home.[2] The busts were severely damaged by inept restoration work in the 1990s.[4] A renovation of the square carried out between 2010 and 2012 was criticised for its removal of all of the sculptures on the square except for that of Shakespeare.[5] The 1981 statue of Charlie Chaplin which had been displaced as a result of these works returned to the square in 2016.[6]

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

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Statue of Charles II Soho Square

51°30′55″N 0°07′56″W
1681Caius Gabriel CibberN/A Statue Grade II Originally formed the crowning element of a fountain at the centre of Soho Square. In 1875, the badly weathered statue was moved to the garden of Grim's Dyke, Harrow Weald, later the home of W. S. Gilbert. It was returned to the square in 1938, according to the wishes of Gilbert's widow.[7]

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Statue of George II Golden Square

51°30′42″N 0°08′14″W
1720John Nost the ElderN/A Statue Grade II A statue of an allegorical figure in Roman costume, made for Cannons, the seat of the Duke of Chandos in Little Stanhope, Middlesex. An anonymous bidder bought the statue at the sale of the house's contents and erected it in Golden Square as "George II" on 14 March 1753.[8]
Four statues in niches Criterion Theatre and Restaurant, Piccadilly Circus 1871–1874 c.1871–1874Edward William WyonThomas Verity Architectural sculpture Grade II* [9]
Bust of Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby St Peter's School, Great Windmill Street 1871Attributed to Hamilton MacCarthy, after Matthew NobleJ. T. Wimperis Architectural sculpture N/A [10][11]

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Statue of William Shakespeare Leicester Square

51°30′37″N 0°07′48″W
1874Giovanni Fontana after Peter ScheemakersJames Knowles Fountain with statue Grade II Unveiled 3 July 1874. Based on William Kent and Scheemakers's memorial to the Bard in Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey. The scroll held by the figure of Shakespeare bears a quotation from Twelfth Night (Act 4, Scene 2): THERE IS NO DARKNESS BUT IGNORANCE[12]
George Maule Allen Memorial Drinking Fountain Churchyard of St Anne's Church, Soho 1890?N/A Drinking fountain N/A Inscribed ERECTED IN MEMORY OF/ GEORGE MAULE ALLEN/ OF 17 CARLISLE STREET SOHO SQUARE/ BORN 4TH OCTOBER 1855/ DIED 29TH APRIL 1889/ AGED 33 YEARS[13]

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Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain
Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury
Piccadilly Circus

51°30′36″N 0°08′04″W
1885–1893Alfred GilbertHoward Ince (consulted on design) Fountain with statue Grade I Unveiled 29 June 1893. Gilbert criticised contemporary statues for being too literal and inartistic, and chose instead to symbolise Lord Shaftesbury's philanthropy with an allegorical figure.[14] This was intended to represent Anteros or "The Angel of Christian Charity", but it became popularly identified with the Greek god's twin brother Eros.
Muses and putti surrounding a bust of Shakespeare Wyndham's Theatre, 32–36 Charing Cross Road 1899?W. G. R. Sprague Relief Grade II* [15]
M. Gaudin riding a snail L'Escargot, 48 Greek Street 1900 c.1900??? Relief Grade II Gaudin was the first restaurateur of L'Escargot.[16]

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Statue of Henry Irving Irving Street

51°30′35″N 0°07′42″W
1910Thomas BrockN/A Statue Grade II Unveiled 5 December 1910. The street between the statue and the National Portrait Gallery, formerly Green Street, was renamed in the actor's honour in 1938. The formal gardens were laid out, with railings bearing the monogram HI, for the Festival of Britain in 1951; these were unveiled by Laurence Olivier.[17]
Euterpe 13–14 Archer Street 1912Charles PibworthAdams & Holden Relief N/A [18]
Britannia and many other figures County Fire Office Building, 218–222 Regent Street 1924–1927 c.1924–1927Joseph Hermon CawthraErnest Newton Architectural sculpture Grade II [19]
Bust of William Shakespeare The Shakespeare's Head pub, 29 Great Marlborough Street, on the corner with Fouberts Place 1928?G. G. Macfarlane Architectural sculpture N/A [20]
Bathing belles Marshall Street Leisure Centre 1928–1931 c.1928–1931Herbert Tyson SmithA. W. S. and K. M. S. Cross Architectural sculpture Grade II [11]
Sight and Sound Vue West End, Leicester Square 1938Edward Bainbridge CopnallE. A. Stone and T. R. Somerford Reliefs N/A [21]
Reliefs Foyles, Charing Cross Road 1939 c.1939Adolfine Mary RylandE. P. Wheeler and H. F. T. Cooper Reliefs N/A The building originally housed St Martin's School of Art and the College for Distributive Trades. Ryland's reliefs relate to shop display. The coat of arms of the London County Council and the inscriptions were carved by Percy J. Delf Smith.[22]
Tympanum French Protestant Church, Soho Square 1950J. PrangnelliAston Webb Relief Grade II* Marks the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Stangers' Church in Threadneedle Street. The relief shows the Huguenots departing from France, their arrival at Dover and the granting of the royal charter establishing the church by Edward VI.[23]
Our Lady of Mercy Notre Dame de France, Leicester Place 1953Georges SaupiqueHector Corfiato Architectural sculpture Grade II* [24]
The Spirit of Electricity Orion House (formerly Thorn House), Lichfield Street 1958–1961Geoffrey ClarkeRenton Howard Wood Levine Architectural sculpture Grade II [25]

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Glockenspiel Swiss Court 1968; altered 1985 and again in 2008Fritz Fuchs? Glockenspiel N/A A gift to the City of Westminster from Switzerland and Liechtenstein, the clock originally adorned the Swiss Centre on this street. In 2008 the site was redeveloped, and as a condition of planning approval the Glockenspiel was retained and redesigned as a freestanding clock.[26] Re-inaugurated 28 November 2011.[27][28]

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Cantonal Tree Swiss Court, off Leicester Square

51°30′38″N 0°07′53″W
1977?N/A Wooden post with shields of the Swiss cantons attached N/A An antique inn sign, given by Switzerland in May 1977 to mark the Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II. The street was given its current name on 15 April 1991, on the 700th anniversary of the founding of the Swiss Confederation.[29]

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Statue of Charlie Chaplin Leicester Square 1979John DoubledayN/A Statue N/A Unveiled 16 April 1981, the 92nd anniversary of Chaplin's birth, by Ralph Richardson. A slightly modified version was erected in Vevey, the Swiss town Chaplin made his home, the following year.[30] The London statue has been moved multiple times within Leicester Square and the vicinity; it was unveiled on its current site on 16 April 2016.[6]

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Mosaics Tottenham Court Road station 1980–1986Eduardo PaolozziN/A Glass mosaics N/A The mosaics on the Central line platforms are replete with references to the neighbourhood above ground, particularly its shops selling books, musical instruments and electronics, whereas those on the two Northern line platforms are abstract in design. The mosaics between the entrance and the platforms were the final part of the scheme to be completed.[31][32] 5% of the mosaics will be lost to construction work as the station is renovated for Crossrail.[33]

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Chinese lions Gerrard Street

51°30′42″N 0°07′52″W
1985?N/A Sculptures N/A Unveiled 29 October 1985 by the Duke of Gloucester at the formal opening of Chinatown. A gift from the People's Republic of China.[34]
Ode to the West Wind 17 Noel Street

51°30′53″N 0°08′13″W
1989Louise Vines and the London Wall Mural GroupN/A Mural N/A Inspired by the eponymous poem of 1819 by Percy Bysshe Shelley, who lived around the corner in 15 Poland Street; the mutilated tree is also a reference to the Great Storm of 1987. Originally proposed in 1986 by the Soho Jazz Festival, which then abandoned the commission; it was subsequently taken up by The Soho Society.[35]

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The Spirit of Soho Broadwick Street

51°30′46″N 0°08′18″W
1991FreeForm Arts TrustN/A Mural N/A Saint Anne, as patroness of Soho, is portrayed in a dress bearing a map of the district. At her feet are gathered several former residents, including Casanova and Marx. Six smaller scenes depict forms of work and leisure characteristic of the area. Restored in 2006.[36]

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The Horses of Helios Haymarket near Piccadilly Circus 1992Rudy WellerPeter Howard of Renton Howard Wood Levine Partnership Architectural sculpture N/A [37][38]

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The Three Graces Coventry Street 1992Rudy WellerPeter Howard of Renton Howard Wood Levine Partnership Architectural sculpture N/A [38]

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Lion 64 Shaftesbury Avenue (corner with Wardour Street) 2009Hsiao-Chi Tsai and Kimiyo Yoshikawa Architectural sculpture N/A [39]
Selene Nadler Hotel, Carlisle Street 2013Hew LockeRobert Adam Architectural sculpture N/A The sculptor wished to create "a classical statue with a contemporary twist" and add to the small number of statues of black women in London. Inspirations for the work include Art Nouveau, fairy paintings by Atkinson Grimshaw and drag queens in Soho.[40][41]
Untitled motifs Tottenham Court Road station 2015Daniel BurenHawkins\Brown and Acanthus Architects Decorative motifs N/A A pattern of alternating circle and diamond shapes, 2.4m in height and diameter.[42] The first phase of the redevelopment of the station, the entrance and ticket hall on Oxford Street, opened in January 2015.[43]

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Beauty < Immortality
Frank Pick
Piccadilly Circus tube station 2016Langlands & BellN/A Memorial N/A Unveiled 7 November 2016, the 75th anniversary of Pick's death.[44] A sequence of words found by the artists on a note in Pick's personal papers is inscribed with bronze letters in the Johnston typeface commissioned by him. To the right, Pick's name appears in the London Underground roundel.[45]

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Blackbird (the persistence of vision) 48 Leicester Square 2016Kenny HunterMAKE Architects Reliefs N/A [46]


  1. Soho Conservation Area Mini Guide (PDF), Westminster City Council, Department of Planning and City Development, May 2004, retrieved 20 July 2014
  2. Ward-Jackson 2011, pp. 112–113.
  3. Sheppard, F. H. W., ed. (1966), "Leicester Square Area: Leicester Estate", Survey of London: volumes 33 and 34: St Anne Soho, Institute of Historical Research, retrieved 13 October 2011
  4. Matthews 2012, p. 98.
  5. Godwin, Richard (30 May 2012), "Don't banish the great men from Leicester Square", Evening Standard, retrieved 19 July 2014
  6. Westminster City Council to unveil statue to film icon Charlie Chaplin in Leicester Square, Westminster City Council, 15 April 2016, retrieved 23 April 2016
  7. Minogue, Tim, "Soho, farewell then?..", Cornerstone, Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, archived from the original on 27 September 2011, retrieved 13 October 2011
  8. Sheppard, F. H. W., ed. (1963), "Golden Square Area: Golden Square Garden", Survey of London: volumes 31 and 32: St James Westminster, Part 2, Institute of Historical Research, retrieved 13 October 2011
  9. Bradley & Pevsner, p. 451.
  10. Ward-Jackson 2011, p. 45.
  11. Bradley & Pevsner 2003, p. 395.
  12. Ward-Jackson 2011, pp. 113–114
  13. "St Ann's Churchyard, Soho", Metropolitan Drinking Fountain & Cattle Trough Association Cattle Troughs and Drinking Fountains, retrieved 12 November 2017
  14. Sheppard, F. H. W., ed. (1963), "The Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain", Survey of London: volumes 31 and 32: St James Westminster, Part 2, Institute of Historical Research, retrieved 13 October 2011
  15. Banerjee, Jacqueline; Landow, George P., "Wyndham's Theatre, Charing Cross, London", The Victorian Web, retrieved 1 April 2018
  16. Bradley & Pevsner 2003, p. 413.
  17. Cheshire, D. F., The Irving Memorial, The Irving Society, archived from the original on 30 September 2011, retrieved 21 October 2011
  18. Bradley & Pevsner 2003, p. 412.
  19. Bradley & Pevsner 2003, p. 450.
  20. Bradley & Pevsner 2003, p. 411.
  21. Bradley & Pevsner 2003, p. 419.
  22. Powers, Alan (January 2015), Foyles, formerly St Martin's School of Art, London, Twentieth Century Society, retrieved 27 April 2019
  23. Devitt, Tim (30 March 2010), "French Protestant Church", Soho Memories, retrieved 27 April 2019
  24. "Art", Notre Dame de France, retrieved 28 March 2019
  25. Ward-Jackson 2011, pp. 119–120.
  26. Leicester Square Swiss glockenspiel restored by Smith of Derby, BBC News, 28 November 2011, retrieved 23 April 2016
  27. Landmark Swiss clock returns to Leicester Square, BBC News, 28 November 2011, retrieved 23 April 2016
  28. Bradley & Pevsner 2003, p. 419
  29. "Memorial: Anglo-Swiss friendship", London Remembers, retrieved 14 February 2015
  30. Ward-Jackson 2011, pp. 118–119
  31. Paolozzi 1984, pp. 30–34
  32. Spencer, Robin (January 2009), "Paolozzi, Sir Eduardo Luigi (1924–2005)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, retrieved 31 August 2014
  33. Holdsworth, Rachel (27 January 2015), "Why Isn't TfL Saving All Paolozzi's Mosaics At Tottenham Court Road?", Londonist, retrieved 30 January 2015
  34. "Chinese lions", London Remembers, retrieved 7 February 2014
  35. Ode to the West Wind, London Mural Preservation Society, retrieved 25 April 2013
  36. "Spirit of Soho Mural", London Remembers, retrieved 22 May 2012
  37. The Four Bronze Horses of Helios, The Fountain Society, archived from the original on 24 May 2010, retrieved 24 January 2010
  38. Bradley & Pevsner 2003, p. 451.
  39. Ward-Jackson 2011, p. 385.
  40. "Selene – Hew Locke's first permanent work in London", ARC Magazine, 17 May 2013, retrieved 29 June 2019
  41. "base2stay™ Hotel, London", e-architect, retrieved 29 June 2019
  42. Tottenham Court Road Commission, Art on the Underground, retrieved 19 June 2015
  43. Fitzgerald, Miranda (20 January 2015), "Hawkins\Brown and Daniel Buren's Op-Art tube station", on office, retrieved 19 June 2015
  44. Craig, Zoe (7 November 2016), "Frank Pick Roundel Unveiled At Piccadilly Circus", Londonist, retrieved 14 December 2016
  45. Parsons, Elly (7 November 2016), "Train of thought: artists Langlands & Bell celebrate Frank Pick's design philosophy", Wallpaper, retrieved 14 December 2016
  46. Wilkinson, Sam (6 January 2017), Blackbird (the persistence of vision), InSite Arts, retrieved 24 March 2018


  • Bradley, Simon; Pevsner, Nikolaus (2003), London 6: Westminster, The Buildings of England, London and New Haven: Yale University Press, ISBN 978-0-300-09595-1
  • Matthews, Peter (2012), London’s Statues and Monuments, Botley: Shire Publications
  • Paolozzi, Eduardo (1984), Robinson, Marlee (ed.), Eduardo Paolozzi: Private Vision—Public Art, London: Architectural Association Publications, ISBN 978-0904503500
  • Ward-Jackson, Philip (2011), Public Sculpture of Historic Westminster: Volume 1, Public Sculpture of Britain, 14, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, ISBN 978-1-84631-691-3
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