London Stone Carving commissioned to produce life-size sculptures of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert for the Royal Albert Hall
Niches in an entrance porch of the Royal Albert Hall on London’s South Bank that have remained empty since the Hall was opened by Queen Victoria in 1871 are to be filled with Portland limestone carvings of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
The life-size carvings will be either side of the doors of the North Porch, which was the original royal entrance to the Hall.
And at the South Porch, which was added in 2003, the niches will be filled by bronzes of our current Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip.
The artists chosen to produce the sculptures as part of the Hall’s 150th anniversary celebrations are Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) scholars.
The Portland stone carvings of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert are being produced by Tom Brown and his colleagues (Josh Locksmith, Tom Nicholls and Sam Lee) at London Stone Carving, while the bronzes will be the work of QEST Finnis Scott Foundation Scholar Poppy Field.
Josh Locksmith, of London Stone Carving, was central to the visual and conceptual design and development of the sculptures as well as the actual sculpting of the clay maquettes (pictured above).
The commissions were awarded following a competition involving a shortlist of seven QEST sculptors.
The Hall as originally conceived by Prince Albert was intended to be called the Central Hall of Arts & Sciences, but by the time it was being built Prince Albert had been dead six years and Queen Victoria gave it his name in her husband’s honour.
The Hall was designed by civil engineers of the Royal Engineers and built by Lucas Brothers. It was always intended that sculptures of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert should fill the niches to the royal entrance and the current project will complete that architectural intention.
The bronzes for the South Porch recognise the Hall’s current patron, Queen Elizabeth II and her late husband.
The plan is for the sculptures to be unveiled in the summer next year.
Deborah Pocock, CEO of the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust, says: “We are so proud that QEST scholars have been commissioned to finally finish the Royal Albert Hall’s iconic façade through the creation of these sculptures and we are extremely grateful to the Royal Albert Hall for choosing to work with QEST in championing British craftsmanship.”
Ian McCulloch, President of the Royal Albert Hall, says: “The Hall is in our temporary stewardship, and it is our duty to ensure it is here to inspire generations to come. I felt that we should commemorate the Hall’s 150th anniversary with something tangible, and these sculptures will finally complete the façade of our glorious Grade I Listed building.
“This anniversary gives us the opportunity to leave a legacy of public art of a high quality and craftsmanship, for which we are honoured to commission the QEST Scholars.”