The statue of Queen Anne at St Paul’s

ANNE was Queen when St Paul’s was built in 1710. The weather-beaten original of this 1712 sculpture by Francis Bird was replaced with a replica by Richard Belt in 1885. The figures on the base represent England, Ireland, France and North America, all of which Queen Anne laid claim to. Note the Royal Coat of Arms of the time are quartered with the French Fleur-di-Lis as well as the Irish Harp and English Lions.

The original (and many say better) statue ended up in the possession of a 19th-century travel writer, Augustus Hare, and can be seen at his former home, Holmhurst, in Baldslow in Sussex.

From :

The statue of Queen Anne [in Holmhurst]  is the famous statue which formerly stood in front of St Paul’s Cathedral at the head of Ludgate Hill. It is said that there was a great feeling about a Protestant sovereign (not a Stuart prince) coming to the throne, it was subscribed for by all the Protestant princes of Europe to be unveiled on the Coronation of Queen Anne. Anyway, it is the work of Bird, the most illustrious sculptor of Queen Anne’s reign, celebrated for the beautiful monument of Dean Vincent in Westminster Abbey.
The charlatan sculptor, Belt, went to the city council and said, ‘Your Queen Anne has lost many fingers and fragments, you had better let me make another copy. I will do it very cheaply.’ And Belt was allowed to make his stone copy and put it up, and the Carrara marble statue of the Queen and her four attendant ladies disappeared suddenly in the night, vanished into space leaving no trace behind.
For two years I hunted Queen Anne. No one, Deans, Canons, officials, no one had any idea what had become of her. At last, my friend, Lewis Gilbertson, walking near the Vauxhall Bridge Road and seeing a curious mound in a mason’s yard asked what it was. The owner said, ‘There is a ladder. You can go and see’. He went and in a pit he saw the five statues. ‘It is a great pity’, said the mason, ‘but they are to be sold in a few days to sculptors for the weight of the marble and will all be destroyed’.
But an investigation was made, it was found they had never belonged to the City Council at all, and that it had had no right to give any orders concerning them. They belonged to three persons – the Bishop of London, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lord Mayor. I flew to Fulham and the Bishop gave me his share, then to Lambeth and the Archbishop not only gave me his share but said, ‘And I will tackle the Lord Mayor’.
Then I got the secretary of the South East [Railway] Company to come and see the statues and make an estimate for their removal, but he said, ‘It is no use talking about it for the statue of the Queen could not go under any of our tunnels!’ ‘But she could lie down’. – ‘No, she cannot lie down, she has too much train’. However, eventually, a plan was contrived by which the Queen leant forward and she eventually arrived at Holmhurst with four trucks, four trollies, sixteen men and twenty-eight horses. Each of the four ladies sat in a separate wagon and a strange procession they made. The Queen weighs seven tons, each of the ladies four tons.
We could not move the London pedestal which was only a shell filled with rubble and rubbish. The present pedestal is an exact copy of it, with one step less and was made of the stone from our quarry. The pedestal and the removal of the statues cost £400: the Queen’s railway ticket was £50. The attendant ladies are: Britannia, Ireland, the American Colonies and France – for English sovereigns did not give up their claim to French royalty until the Georges.

4 thoughts on “The statue of Queen Anne at St Paul’s

    1. Marianne was made the symbol of the French Republic in 1792 but this statue predates that, and was created by an English sculptor. So, despite some coincidental similarities – due to the use of national dress and other symbols – I don’t believe you can call this Marianne. It represents France as ruled by England (and an English Queen) whereas Marianne is the symbol of an independent, monarchy-free France.

  1. Someone has pointed out to me that the foot of the statue of the native American lady with the feather headdress is resting upon the severed head of a man with a moustache. Who is he and what is the significance?

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