Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Albertropolis

The first site we went to was the Albertropolis: the Albert Memorial in Kensington Park, and the Royal Albert Hall across the street, and the Victoria & Albert Museum nearby. I adore Albert and believe he was one of the greatest "kings" England ever had, even though he never held the title.

The site is probably called the "Albertopolis" tongue-in-cheek because after Albert died, poor old Queen Vic went a little batty and commissioned these things to be built in his honor. Nothing wrong with building things in honor of a Royal, but she ... kinda went overboard.

The Albert Memorial is both hailed and reviled. It's a stunning example of the excessive decoration and absurd sentiments of the Victorian Age. The memorial is absolutely over-the-top. You've got your Albert Himself in gold, no less, you've got your four continents of the then empire (shown: Asia,) you've got your homage to every branch of science known at the time, all topped with saints and angels. An Egyptian pharoah couldn't have asked for more. It is both glorious and dreadful. I love it.