The winning entry
In April 1863 George Gilbert Scott was announced as the winner of the competition to design the National Memorial to the Prince Consort. His winning design consisted of an Italianate canopy in the Gothic Revival style, containing a 14 feet/4 metre high gilded statue of Albert.
Scott was a very successful architect who had built up a reputation both restoring and building new Gothic churches. A possible influence for his memorial design was Thomas Worthington's Albert Memorial in Manchester of just one year before.
Work began on constructing the memorial in 1864 and in 1872 the 176 feet/53 metre high memorial was opened, although it was not completely finished until 1876. The monument cost £120,000 to build, a large sum at the time, due in part to the luxurious materials used.
The memorial sculptures
The 24ct gold seated statue of Albert was completed by the sculptor John Henry Foley. The prince is dressed as a Knight of the Garter and is sat holding a catalogue to the Great Exhibition of 1851. The memorial contains many references to Albert's interests and his work in the field of arts and science education.
At the base of the canopy runs a frieze in which the following inscription runs:
'Queen Victoria and her people - A tribute to the memory of Albert Prince Consort – As a Tribute of their gratitude – for a life dedicated to the public good.'
At the four corners below the statue of the prince are allegorical marble sculptures of agriculture, commerce, engineering and manufacturing. At the outermost corners are allegorical sculptures of Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas, reflecting Albert's international concerns.