Why the frieze The Triumph of Artwork and Letters is the Royal Albert Corridor’s final touch

The final touch of the Royal Albert Corridor is the 250-metre lengthy frieze referred to as The Triumph of Artwork and Letters at the outer wall, 60 toes up. It was once the overall part in building ahead of Victoria minimize the ribbon in March 1871.

Its seven Royal Academy artists shared out 16 sections and crammed them with 280 life-size figures fascinated about inventive creativity, manufacture, building or schooling. At the start it was once to were a hoop of sculpted marble, however economies had been essential, and terra cotta mosaics changed into the extra modest medium. They had been installed position no longer by way of the artists however by way of women of the mosaic magnificence on the South Kensington Museum, now referred to as the V&A.

What does the The Triumph of Artwork and Letters display?

The frieze starts above Door 6 with a scene of unique foreigners arriving in London for the Nice Exhibition in Hyde Park in 1851. The carved textual content, which runs above it noting the monetary contribution made by way of that tournament to the corridor’s building, additionally begins right here. It kind of feels to resolve the order of the sections, in order that the word ‘development of the humanities’ overlies the Song and Portray panel above Doorways 7 and eight, the title ‘Prince Albert’ coincides with the Princes and Buyers panel above the west porch, ‘the primary stone’ accompanies Staff in Stone above Doorways 10 and 11 and the quote from Ecclesiastes ‘the sensible and their works’ superscribes the determine of James Watt and his steam engine above Door 5.

Watt is phenomenal in being recognized. Many of the figures are nameless males, girls and youngsters. Probably the most males are nude like Greeks, maximum significantly within the Mechanical Powers panel above Door 4, even supposing to spare Victorian blushes, they’ve no genitals. The Triumph of Artwork and Letters was once supposed to were the nineteenth century’s resolution to the marble frieze that Lord Elgin ‘rescued’ from the Parthenon, one among a number of iconic structures depicted within the frieze in acknowledgement by way of the architects of the Albert Corridor that it, too, was once becoming a member of their ranks. Flip the web page for a information to the frieze’s seven appointed artists and their strange paintings.

Who had been the seven artists of The Triumph of Artwork and Letters?

EJ POYNTER (1836-1919)

More than a few International locations Arrive for the Nice Exhibition 1851 (Door 6)

Poynter designed the primary segment, during which the international locations, led by way of cherubs, arrive in London encumbered with native produce for the display. Liberty leads The usa’s parade, having unshackled the African-American, suffering together with his cotton bale. She is wearing his chains in her proper hand. The Local American, who may just no longer have foreseen how stylish his coiffure would change into, brings tobacco in a peace pipe. Poynter, later knighted, was once the primary Slade professor of artwork at College Faculty London, and President of the Royal Academy.



Philosophers, Sages and Scholars (Door 3)

Armitage were given the coed panel, and to turn what a forward-looking Victorian he was once, integrated ladies. Girton Faculty, Cambridge, the primary girls’s college, was once established most effective the yr ahead of in 1870. Notice how Armitage depicts the coed frame in unbelievable rapt consideration, leaning at the globe, soaking up each and every nugget, no longer mendacity in mattress or clutching bowls of cereal. One boy, attending a lecture on fossils, is even taking notes with a quill, whilst demure handmaids distribute educational awards. Armitage was once the respectable artist of the Crimean Warfare however attracted complaint from individuals who felt his photos too bloodthirsty for a civilised country.

WF YEAMES (1835-1918)


Staff in Stone, Staff in Wooden and Brick, Structure (Doorways 10 & 11)

Yeames, given Structure, depicted St Paul’s Cathedral with Charles II and his spaniel congratulating the architect Wren. As identifiable figures, they’re extraordinary within the frieze, which is most commonly devoted to nameless staff. In truth, Yeames satirically options the true labourers in the back of the king’s again, one hauling a bucket, any other developing scaffolding. Yeames’s goal was once additionally to put the brand new Corridor within the context of alternative domed structures proven within the frieze, together with Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia. English Gothic is represented by way of Peterborough Cathedral, the haulers and hod-carriers passing a Celtic move ahead of it.

HS MARKS (1829-1898)


Agriculture, Horticulture and Land Surveying, Astronomy and Navigation
(Doorways 1 & 2)

Marks interpreted Agriculture, Horticulture and Land Surveying as ‘taming the land’. A surveyor presentations his plans for an earthwork, however even with reference to, it slightly looks as if he’s dressed in a couple of false breasts. In the back of him, Romans come to a decision the destiny of a few captives. An imperial country extends its obstacles and civilises populations. Marks would in the end change into well-known for his hen and animal art work for which he spent hours on the newly opened London Zoo together with his buddy John Ruskin. The cattle right here anticipates this later profession. Custom data that Galileo is the telescope tutor within the neighbouring panel, even supposing the frieze provides no clue to this.

JC HORSLEY (1817-1903)

Engineering (Door 4)


Horsley exalted Nice Britain in his Engineering panel, appearing Stephenson’s Rocket steam teach, 3 Victorian gentlemen mapping out territory, and telegraph wires operating in the course of the panel as though visually connecting the sector. He’s the one one of the crucial artists to have signed his paintings and dated it (1869). Simply off to the aspect of the segment pictured right here, sweating miners ship flamable rocks to a furnace. One swigs water from a beaker and mops his forehead. A group handles the molten metal with sensibly lengthy tongs. Horsley is known for growing the primary Christmas card and, considerably, denouncing fresh art work of the nude, a pattern borrowed from the Paris salon within the Eighteen Eighties, for which Punch mag wittily nicknamed him ‘Garments Horsley’.

HH ARMSTEAD (1828-1905)


The Mechanical Powers (Door 4)

Armstead depicts Mechanical Energy in the course of the muscular power of fellows working levers, wielding sledge hammers or powering a wine press, vulnerably within the nude. Their loss of non-public portions is the oddest concept within the frieze, a bizarre compromise between fact and modesty. Did Horsley interfere? Armstead’s admiration for the human shape led him into sculpture and he was once liable for 80 of the bas aid carvings at the Albert Memorial.

FR PICKERSGILL (1820-1900)


Song, Sculpture, Portray (Doorways 7 & 8), Infancy of the Arts and Sciences (above south porch), Pottery and Glass-making (Door 5)

Pickersgill was once identified for portray ancient topics, and right here he depicts early tools – a vihuela, a valveless trumpet, a tambour, a Celtic harp, a lute. Because of this too, in all probability, he was once given the Infancy of Arts and Sciences panel, during which he presentations artists adorning a ship, fashioning a reed pipe, and extra. He returns to clay within the closing panel, Pottery and Glass-making, during which an increasing number of subtle items culminate within the glass-blower’s artwork ahead of Poynter comes spherical once more.


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