List of public art on the Victoria Embankment

This is a list of public art on the Victoria Embankment in London.

The embankment is a road and river-walk on the north bank of the River Thames, formed from land reclaimed during the construction of Joseph Bazalgette's sewerage system in the late 19th century.[1] From 1864 a sequence of public gardens called the Victoria Embankment Gardens was created from this land. Running from north-east to south-west, these are called Temple Gardens, the Main Garden, the Whitehall Garden and finally the Ministry of Defence section; the last of these was laid out in 1939–1959.[2] All four gardens contain works of commemorative sculpture and further memorials are located on the river-walk or road itself, making the Embankment one of the main sites for commemoration in London.[3]

City of London

Image Title / subject Location and
DateArtist / designerArchitect / other Type Designation Notes
Memorial to Queen Victoria's last visit to the City Incorporated into the railings of Middle Temple Gardens 1902John Daymond & Son or Charles Henry MabeyAndrew Murray (City Surveyor) Memorial with relief sculpture; boundary marker N/A [4]

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National Submarine War Memorial Temple Pier 1922 and 1959Frederick Brook HitchA. Heron Ryan Tenison Plaque Grade II* [5]
Dragon boundary marks Victoria Embankment 1847–1849?James Bunstone Bunning Statues Grade II [6]

City of Westminster

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

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Cleopatra's Needle
Thutmose III and Ramesses II
Adelphi Steps, near Hungerford Bridge

51°30′31″N 0°07′13″W
1450 BC c.1450 BCN/AGeorge John Vulliamy Obelisk Grade I One of a pair of obelisks erected in Heliopolis by Thutmose III; two centuries later the inscriptions to Ramesses II were added and in 12 BC they were moved to Alexandria. Presented to Britain in 1819, but not brought to London until 1878. Its companion was re-erected in Central Park, New York, in 1881.[7]

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Boadicea and Her Daughters
Near Westminster Pier

51°30′04″N 0°07′26″W
1856–1883Thomas Thornycroft and William Hamo ThornycroftThomas Graham Jackson Sculptural group Grade II The elder Thornycroft's magnum opus, brought to completion by his son. The style of the figures was out of fashion by the time the group was installed here in 1902.[8]

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Statue of Isambard Kingdom Brunel Near Temple tube station

51°30′39″N 0°06′55″W
1861 c.1861Carlo MarochettiRichard Norman Shaw Statue Grade II Erected 1877. This and Marochetti's statue of George Stephenson outside Euston station were originally planned for Parliament Square. Shaw's masonry screen, then a complete novelty but much imitated since, may have been intended to block the tube station from view.[9]
Lions' heads with mooring rings Victoria Embankment, at intervals beneath lamps on the river side of the river wall 1868–1870Timothy ButlerJoseph Bazalgette and George John Vulliamy Lion's head masks Grade II The bronze masks with mooring rings were the earliest elements in the Embankment's decorative programme to be installed.[10] For the tide to rise of the level of the lions' mouths would be a sign of severe flooding, so a saying has arisen, "if the lions drink, London will sink".[11]

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Dolphin lamp standards Victoria Embankment 1870 onwardsCharles Henry MabeyGeorge John Vulliamy Lamp standards with sculptural elements Grade II [12]

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Statue of Sir James Outram, 1st Baronet Victoria Embankment Gardens, Whitehall Garden

51°30′21″N 0°07′24″W
1871Matthew NobleN/A Statue Grade II Unveiled 17 August 1871 by Lord Halifax. Permission for a statue to Outram in Trafalgar Square had been refused in 1861. Trophies of arms representing his Indian campaigns rest on the corners of the pedestal.[13]

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Benches Victoria Embankment

51°30′33″N 0°07′09″W
1872–1874Lewis and George John VulliamyN/A Benches Grade II 21 cast iron and timber benches set along the Embankment, all to a design depicting winged sphinxes in their terminal arm-brackets, except for that opposite the junction with Horseguards Avenue, which depicts seated camels instead.[14]

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Statue of John Stuart Mill Victoria Embankment Gardens, Temple Gardens

51°30′40″N 0°06′48″W
1878Thomas WoolnerN/A Statue Grade II Unveiled 26 January 1878.[15] The first statue specifically designed for a site on the Embankment.[16]

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Two sphinxes Cleopatra's Needle

51°30′31″N 0°07′13″W
1878Charles Henry MabeyGeorge John Vulliamy Statues Grade I (with obelisk) Modelled on a sphinx from the time of Thutmose III in the Duke of Northumberland's collection at Alnwick Castle.[17]

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Statue of Robert Raikes Victoria Embankment Gardens, Main Garden

51°30′34″N 0°07′11″W
1880Thomas BrockN/A Statue Grade II Unveiled 3 July 1880 by the Earl of Shaftesbury. Replicas were made in 1929 for the 150th anniversary of the first Sunday school, established by Raikes in Gloucester; they stand in that city and in Toronto.[18]

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Statue of William Tyndale Victoria Embankment Gardens, Whitehall Garden

51°30′23″N 0°07′23″W
1884Joseph Edgar BoehmEdward William Godwin Statue Grade II Unveiled 7 May 1884. Erected by the British and Foreign Bible Society to commemorate their 80th anniversary, and the supposed 400th anniversary of Tyndale's birth.[19]

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Statue of Robert Burns Victoria Embankment Gardens, Main Garden

51°30′32″N 0°07′16″W
1884John SteellN/A Statue Grade II Unveiled 26 July 1884 by Lord Rosebery. A variation on Steell's 1880 statue of Burns in Central Park, New York; other versions are in Dundee (erected 1880) and Dunedin, New Zealand (erected 1887).[20]

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Memorial to Henry Fawcett Victoria Embankment Gardens, Main Garden

51°30′33″N 0°07′14″W
1886Mary Grant and George FramptonBasil Champneys Drinking fountain with plaque Grade II Unveiled 27 July 1886. Grant produced the portrait relief and Frampton, then at an early stage in his career, provided the ornamental sculpture. The erroneous "signature" reads MARY GRANT SC/ 1896; this was added in 1897.[21]

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Statue of Sir Henry Bartle Frere, 1st Baronet Victoria Embankment Gardens, Whitehall Garden

51°30′18″N 0°07′25″W
1887Thomas BrockN/A Statue Grade II Unveiled 5 June 1888 by the Prince of Wales (the future Edward VII). Frere is represented in privy counsellor's uniform, with the robe and collar of a Knight Grand Commander of the Star of India and the insignia of the Order of the Bath.[22]

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Statue of Charles George Gordon Victoria Embankment Gardens, Ministry of Defence section

51°30′16″N 0°07′26″W
1888William Hamo ThornycroftAlfred Waterhouse Statue Grade II Unveiled 16 October 1888 in Trafalgar Square. The pedestal was inspired by that of Le Sueur's Charles I at the southern end of the square. Thornycroft's work was removed from its original location in 1943 for the temporary display of a Lancaster bomber and re-erected on this site in 1953. A cast of 1889 is in Melbourne.[23]

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Statue of William Edward Forster Victoria Embankment Gardens, Main Garden

51°30′41″N 0°06′44″W
1889Henry Richard Hope PinkerN/A Statue Grade II Unveiled 1 August 1890. Erected outside the (now demolished) London School Board offices.[24] School boards in England and Wales had been created under "Forster's Education Act" of 1870.[25]

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Memorial to Joseph Bazalgette Near Embankment Pier, facing Northumberland Avenue

51°30′23″N 0°07′20″W
1901George Blackall SimondsN/A Plaque with bust Grade II Unveiled 6 November 1901.[26] Inscribed FLVMINI VINCVLA POSVIT ("he put the river in chains"), referring to Bazalgette's construction of London's sewers, which also resulted in the creation of the Embankment.[27]

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Memorial to Arthur Sullivan Victoria Embankment Gardens, Main Garden

51°30′33″N 0°07′13″W
1902William Goscombe JohnN/A Bust on pedestal with other sculpture Grade II Unveiled 10 July 1903 by Princess Louise. Inscribed with a quotation from Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera The Yeomen of the Guard (1888), IS LIFE A BOON?/ IF SO, IT MUST BEFALL/ THAT DEATH, WHENE'ER HE CALL/ MUST CALL TOO SOON.[28]

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Memorial to Walter Besant Near Savoy Place

51°30′34″N 0°07′07″W
1902George FramptonN/A Plaque N/A Erected 1904. A cast of an identical monument in the crypt of St Paul's Cathedral, unveiled in 1903.[29]
Gates Norman Shaw Buildings, Derby Gate

51°30′07″N 0°07′27″W
1904 (erected)Reginald Blomfield (designer of gates)Richard Norman Shaw Gates Grade II* These ornate wrought-iron gates were acquired by Shaw after he saw them displayed in an exhibition of Arts and Crafts; they were installed here during the construction of his second building for the New Scotland Yard, now known as the Norman Shaw South Building.[30]

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Statue of Sir Wilfrid Lawson, 2nd Baronet, of Brayton Victoria Embankment Gardens, Main Garden

51°30′31″N 0°07′18″W
1909David McGillN/A Statue Grade II Unveiled 20 July 1909 by H. H. Asquith. The pedestal was originally decorated with bronze statuettes representing Temperance, Charity, Fortitude and Peace; these were stolen in 1979.[31]

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Memorial to William Thomas Stead Temple Pier

51°30′39″N 0°06′45″W
1913George FramptonN/A Plaque Grade II Unveiled 5 July 1920. Portrait relief with two small figures of Fortitude and Sympathy. A replica was unveiled in Central Park, New York, in 1921.[32]
Memorial to Richard Norman Shaw Norman Shaw North Building

51°30′08″N 0°07′27″W
1914William Hamo ThornycroftWilliam Lethaby Plaque Grade I (building) Unveiled 13 July 1914. Lethaby commended Thornycroft on his posthumous likeness of Shaw: "You must have remembered much, the curled over lip and the serious smiling, saucy look are so alike..." The building is often regarded as Shaw's masterpiece.[33]

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Memorial to W. S. Gilbert Near Embankment Pier

51°30′26″N 0°07′18″W
1914George FramptonN/A Plaque Grade II Unveiled 31 August 1915. Portrait relief with figures of Tragedy and Comedy; the latter contemplates a doll dressed as the Mikado. Anthony Hope, who was on the memorial committee, took credit for the epitaph HIS FOE WAS FOLLY/ AND HIS WEAPON WIT, though the exact phrasing was not his.[34]

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Anglo-Belgian Memorial Victoria Embankment, facing Cleopatra's Needle

51°30′31″N 0°07′15″W
1920Victor Rousseau with a Mr FrancisReginald Blomfield Screen with sculptural group and reliefs Grade II* Unveiled 12 October 1920. A gift from Belgium to thank Britain for her assistance in the First World War. Rousseau modelled the central bronze group and Francis, a student at the Royal College of Art, was tasked with the initial carving of the stone elements, which was finished by Rousseau.[35] A corresponding memorial is in Brussels.

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Imperial Camel Corps Memorial Victoria Embankment Gardens, Main Garden

51°30′30″N 0°07′18″W
1920Cecil BrownN/A Statue on pedestal with reliefs Grade II Unveiled 22 July 1921. Major Cecil Brown, the sculptor, was himself a member of the Corps.[36]

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Royal Air Force Memorial Whitehall Steps

51°30′14″N 0°07′23″W
1923William Reid DickReginald Blomfield Pylon with sculpture Grade II* Unveiled 13 July 1923 by the Prince of Wales (the future Edward VIII). A pylon of Portland stone surmounted by a gilded eagle, perched on a globe. Commemorates RAF personnel killed in both world wars.[37]

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Memorial to Samuel Plimsoll Victoria Embankment

51°30′19″N 0°07′24″W
1929Ferdinand Victor BlundstoneN/A Bust on pedestal with other sculpture Grade II Unveiled 21 August 1929. The plinth is flanked by bronze figures of a sailor and Justice. The Plimsoll line is used as a motif on the railings on either side.[38]

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Memorial to Herbert Eaton, 3rd Baron Cheylesmore Victoria Embankment Gardens, Main Garden

51°30′32″N 0°07′15″W
1930N/AEdwin Lutyens Screen Grade II Unveiled 17 July 1930. Reginald Blomfield, the architect of the Anglo-Belgian Memorial, objected to Lutyens's work being "plastered onto the back" of his own.[39]

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King's Reach Memorial Temple Pier

51°30′39″N 0°06′42″W
1936Charles DomanEdwin Cooper Stele with plaque and sculpture N/A Unveiled 20 January 1936. Commemorates the naming of this stretch of the river after George V.[40]

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Statue of Hugh Trenchard, 1st Viscount Trenchard Victoria Embankment Gardens, Ministry of Defence section

51°30′13″N 0°07′26″W
1961William McMillanAlbert Richardson Statue Grade II Unveiled 19 July 1961 by Harold Macmillan. Richardson was an old friend of Trenchard's and offered to design the pedestal free of charge.[41]

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Statue of Charles Portal, 1st Viscount Portal of Hungerford Victoria Embankment Gardens, Ministry of Defence section

51°30′15″N 0°07′25″W
1975Oscar NemonN/A Statue N/A Unveiled 21 May 1975 by Harold Macmillan. The statue is set on a triangular slate pedestal, partly intended to evoke the shape of an aerofoil. Portal gazes upwards in the direction of the RAF Memorial.[42]
Murals Embankment tube station, all platforms 1985Robyn DennyArup Associates Murals N/A This scheme won a Brunel Award for outstanding visual design in 1989.[43]
Savoy Hotel Centenary Memorial

Richard D'Oyly Carte and other chairmen and managing directors of the Savoy Hotel up to 1989

Victoria Embankment Gardens, Main Garden

51°30′34″N 0°07′12″W
1989Christopher DanielHugh Casson Armillary sphere and cistern N/A Inaugurated 30 March 1989. The inscriptions on the armilla include the hotel's motto ('FOR EXCELLENCE WE STRIVE') and lines from Gilbert and Sullivan's Savoy opera, Ruddigore (1887): 'EVERY SEASON HAS ITS CHEER'/ 'LIFE IS LOVELY ALL THE YEAR'.[44]

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Statue of Michael Faraday Savoy Place

51°30′36″N 0°07′08″W
1989John Henry Foley and Thomas BrockN/A Statue N/A Unveiled 1 November 1989. Cast of an 1874 marble sculpture in the Royal Institution, completed by Brock after Foley's death. The original gilding has worn away entirely.[45]

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Chindit Memorial Victoria Embankment Gardens, Whitehall Garden

51°30′12″N 0°07′26″W
1990Frank ForsterDavid Price Statue N/A Unveiled 16 October 1990. Crowned with a bronze Chinthe or Burmese temple guardian, the Chindits' namesake. Medallions to the front and rear reproduce the force's badge and the portrait of their founder Orde Wingate.[46]

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Lady Henry Somerset Memorial Victoria Embankment Gardens, Main Garden

51°30′40″N 0°06′45″W
1991Philomena Davidson Davis after George Edward WadeN/A Drinking fountain with statue Grade II Unveiled 29 May 1897. Wade's original sculpture for the temperance campaigner's memorial was stolen in 1971; it was replaced by Davis's replica only in 1991.[47]

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Fleet Air Arm Memorial (Daedalus)
Royal Naval Air Service and Fleet Air Arm
Victoria Embankment Gardens, Ministry of Defence section

51°30′15″N 0°07′26″W
2000James ButlerTrehearne and Norman Statue N/A Unveiled 1 June 2000 by the Prince of Wales. The figure of Daedalus as a modern pilot reflects on his fallen comrades. He stands atop a column which rises out of a plinth reminiscent of the prow of a ship.[48]

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Battle of Britain Monument Victoria Embankment, near Richmond Terrace

51°30′11″N 0°07′24″W
2005Paul DayTony Dyson Memorial with sculpture N/A Unveiled 18 September 2005 by the Prince of Wales. Adapted from a Victorian granite plinth which originally housed a ventilator for the Underground.[49]

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Korean War Memorial Victoria Embankment Gardens, Whitehall Garden 2014Philip JacksonN/A Memorial with statue N/A Unveiled 3 December 2014. A statue of a British soldier stands in front of a Portland stone obelisk on a base of Welsh slate. The memorial is a gift of the Republic of Korea.[50]

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Iraq and Afghanistan Memorial Victoria Embankment Gardens, Whitehall Garden 2017Paul DayN/A Memorial with sculpture N/A Unveiled 9 March 2017 by Elizabeth II.[51]


  1. Ward-Jackson 2011, p. 305
  2. "Victoria Embankment Gardens: Main Garden, Whitehall Garden, Temple Gardens, Ministry of Defence", London Gardens Online, retrieved 3 October 2013
  3. Kershman 2013, pp. 114–5
  4. Attributed to Daymond & Son in Ward-Jackson 2003, p. 421 and to Mabey in van der Krogt, René; van der Krogt, Peter, "Queen Victoria", Statues – Hither & Thither, retrieved 3 July 2017.
  5. Ward-Jackson 2003, p. 432.
  6. Ward-Jackson 2003, p. 422.
  7. Ward-Jackson 2011, pp. 316–21
  8. Ward-Jackson 2011, pp. 340–3
  9. Ward-Jackson 2011, pp. 311–3
  10. Ward-Jackson 2003, p. 418
  11. Westminster Lions Cycle Ride (PDF), Cycle Confident, archived from the original (PDF) on 29 November 2014, retrieved 19 November 2014
  12. Ward-Jackson 2003, p. 419
  13. Ward-Jackson 2011, pp. 308–10
  14. Historic England. "21 bench seats set on Embankment pavement (1357348)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  15. Ward-Jackson 2011, pp. 313–5
  16. Ward-Jackson 2011, p. 306
  17. Ward-Jackson 2011, p. 320
  18. Ward-Jackson 2011, pp. 321–3
  19. Jackson, Paul, William Tyndale: Victoria Embankment Gardens, The Tyndale Society, archived from the original on 17 May 2008, retrieved 13 February 2010
  20. Ward-Jackson 2011, 326–7
  21. Ward-Jackson 2011, pp. 328–30
  22. Ward-Jackson 2011, pp. 330–1
  23. Ward-Jackson 2011, pp. 332–5
  24. Ward-Jackson 2011, pp. 336–7
  25. The 1870 Education Act, UK Parliament, retrieved 3 April 2015
  26. Ward-Jackson 2011, p. 339
  27. Matthews 2012, p. 49
  28. Ward-Jackson 2011, pp. 344–5
  29. Ward-Jackson 2011, p. 346
  30. Historic England. "Gates and Piers Between Norman Shaw North and South Buildings, Former New Scotland Yard (1066173)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  31. Ward-Jackson 2011, pp. 347–8
  32. Ward-Jackson 2011, pp. 351–2
  33. Ward-Jackson 2011, p. 349
  34. Ward-Jackson 2011, pp. 350–1
  35. "Anglo-Belgian Memorial", Your Archives, The National Archives, archived from the original on 24 February 2013, retrieved 22 September 2014
  36. Matthews 2012, p. 51
  37. Ward-Jackson, Philip, Royal Air Force Memorial (PDF), Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, retrieved 13 October 2011
  38. Ward-Jackson 2011, pp. 359–60
  39. Ward-Jackson 2011, pp. 361–2
  40. Ward-Jackson 2011, pp. 362–3
  41. Ward-Jackson 2011, pp. 363–5
  42. Ward-Jackson 2011, pp. 365–6
  43. Robyn Denny: Chronology, Laurent Delaye Gallery, archived from the original on 1 February 2014, retrieved 31 August 2014
  44. Ward-Jackson 2011, pp. 366–7
  45. Ward-Jackson 2011, pp. 367–9
  46. Ward-Jackson 2011, pp. 369–70
  47. Ward-Jackson 2011, pp. 337–8
  48. Ward-Jackson 2011, p. 371
  49. Ward-Jackson 2011, pp. 372–5
  50. Memorial to the Korean War unveiled in London, GOV.UK, 3 December 2014, retrieved 4 December 2014
  51. "Iraq and Afghanistan wars memorial unveiled", BBC Online, 9 March 2017, retrieved 9 March 2017


  • Kershman, Andrew (2013), London's Monuments, London: Metro Publications, ISBN 978-1-902910-43-7
  • Matthews, Peter (2012), London's Statues and Monuments, Botley: Shire Publications, ISBN 978-0-74780-798-8
  • Ward-Jackson, Philip (2003), Public Sculpture of the City of London, Public Sculpture of Britain, 7, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, ISBN 0-85323-977-0
  • (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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