W S Gilbert - Victoria Embankment, London, UK
N 51° 30.429 W 000° 07.299
30U E 699744 N 5710152
Quick Description: This bronze relief profile, of W S Gilbert, is on the east side of the Victoria Embankment just to the north of Hungerford Bridge.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 5/22/2012 9:15:05 AM
Waymark Code: WMEFH8
The monument, made from bronze, shows the left
head and shoulder profile of W S Gilbert in relief. The profile is life-size and
shows Gilbert bare-headed with luxuriant side whiskers and a moustache. He is
looking straight ahead.
Beneath the profile is an inscription, in the same bronze piece, that reads:
"1836 - W.S. Gilbert - 1911
Playwright & Poet
His foe was folly
& his weapon wit."
Beneath the inscription is a coat-of-arms,
probably of the Gilbert family, that has the motto "Mallem Mori Quam Mutare"
that translates to "Prefer Death to Change".
Seated, at each side of the main inscription, are two girls. The one of the left
is named "Tragedy" and the one on the right, "Comedy". The girl on
the left has a book in her lap and ai holding out a flower in her left hand. The
girl on the right is holding a doll in her right hand and has more dolls hanging
from her left arm.
The London Remembers website (visit
link) tells us:
"Playwright, lyricist & poet. Born 17
Southampton Street as William Schwenck Gilbert. The Savoy Operas were written by
Gilbert, with Sullivan providing the music and Richard D'Oyly Carte providing
the theatre and overall management. Over the years some resentment built up and
finally exploded in the quarrel over a carpet. Carte had apparently charged the
costs of a new foyer carpet to the expenses for the current show. Gilbert
disputed this, expecting Sullivan to support him but Sullivan wanted to stay on
good terms with Carte. The argument grew into a question of whether Carte was
trustworthy with all their financial affairs and was eventually settled in
court. The dispute ended the amicable relationship between the three men. Prior
to it they had written and produced 11 extremely successful operettas.
Surprisingly they did manage to work together again, producing two operettas but
they were not in the same league as before.
Gilbert died of a heart attack while trying to save a guest swimming in the lake
at his home, Grim's Dyke, in Harrow Weald. The guest was 17-year-old Ruby Preece
who went on, as Patricia Preece, to become Stanley Spencer's second wife, the
one represented, rather queasily, in the Tate’s 1937 'Double Nude Portrait: the
Artist and his Second Wife'. Her eventful life (including a second rescue from
drowning) is related at The art and vision of Stanley Spencer."