Memorials Of The Great War
War Memorial of the Month - July 2018
Royal Artillery Memorial, London
click on the images to enlarge
To protect and promote the spirit and substance of the work of Sir Edwin Lutyens OM
Location: Hyde Park Corner, London, SW1X 7TA
Criticised by many when it was first unveiled for its stark depiction of warfare, the Royal Artillery memorial at Hyde Park Corner is one of the most distinctive of the country’s war memorials. It is not widely known however that Lutyens was originally asked to prepare the design and, in May 1920, he submitted three alternatives to the Royal Artillery War Commemoration Fund. However the Fund was not impressed, and four months later the architect was asked to produce an alternative proposal incorporating a howitzer. He approached the sculptor Derwent Wood, with whom he head worked upon previous commissions including the Cenotaph in Whitehall. Unfortunately the fresh design (see left) was disliked by the committee, one commenting that the depiction of the gun crew by Wood was unrealistic and showed “far too many people sort of hanging around short of a job”.
Instead the Committee decided to invite the sculptor Charles Sargeant Jagger to design something more suitable and it is his scheme, in an architectural setting by Lionel Pearson, was unveiled on 18 October 1925. However the alignment of the memorial was influenced by Lutyens who, together with Sir Reginald Blomfield, who suggested that it should be turned so that, instead of facing the Wellington Arch, it faced south to form a pleasing silhouette from the park nearby.