Shakespeare - William Shakespeare Statue - Leicester Square, London, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 30.625 W 000° 07.805
30U E 699144 N 5710492
Quick Description: In the centre of Leicester Square there is a statue of William Shakespeare. He is shown leaning against a pillar and from the top of the pillar a scroll has unrolled and onit are inscribed the words "There is no darkness but ignorance".
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 12/10/2014 11:06:33 AM
Waymark Code: WMN20N
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Outspoken1
Views: 2

Long Description:

The inscription is taken from one of Shakespeare's own plays - Twelth Night Act 4 Scene 2. The words are spoken by the Fool to Malvolio:

FOOL
Madman, thou errest. I say, there is no darkness but ignorance, in which thou art more puzzled than the Egyptians in their fog.

MALVOLIO
I say, this house is as dark as ignorance, though ignorance were as dark as hell. And I say, there was never man thus abused. I am no more mad than you are. Make the trial of it in any constant question.

Wikipedia has an article about the statue that tells us:

A statue of William Shakespeare, sculpted by Giovanni Fontana after an original by Peter Scheemakers, has formed the centrepiece of Leicester Square Gardens, London, since 1874. The marble figure, copied from Scheemakers' 18th-century monument to Shakespeare in Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey, stands on a pedestal flanked by dolphins at the centre of a fountain. It is the result of improvements to the gardens made by the financier Albert Grant, who bought the Square in 1874 and had it refurbished to a design by James Knowles.

The scroll held by Shakespeare is inscribed with a quotation from Twelfth Night (Act IV, Scene II), "THERE IS NO DARKNESS BUT IGNORANCE", where the original in Poets' Corner has a misquoted passage from The Tempest. The Leicester Square statue also differs from its model in omitting reliefs of Henry V, Richard III and Elizabeth I from the plinth on which Shakespeare rests. The inscription on the pedestal in Leicester Square reads:

"THIS ENCLOSURE/ WAS PURCHASED, LAID OUT/ AND DECORATED AS A GARDEN/ BY ALBERT GRANT ESQ[UI]RE M.P./ AND/ CONVEYED BY HIM ON THE 2ND JULY 1874/ TO THE/ METROPOLITAN BOARD OF WORKS/ TO BE PRESERVED FOR EVER/ FOR THE FREE USE AND ENJOYMENT/ OF THE PUBLIC"

The statue is listed at Grade II. In 2012 it underwent restoration, and the cleaning was completed and new water features added in 2014.

As mentioned, the statue is Grade II listed with the entry at the English Heritage website telling us:

Memorial sculptural fountain in centre of garden with busts to four corners. 1874 garden design by James Knowles with fountain sculpture by G. Fontana. White marble. "Stratford" statue of the Bard on tall square pedestal with dolphin supporters at angles over stepped circular plinth rising from inner basin, outer basin as flower bed compartmented by volute scrolls, the outer rim with pedestalled vases. The marble busts on granite plinths part of the same 1874 layout: Hogarth by J. Denham, John Hunter by T. Woolner, Isaac Newton by Calder Marshall, Reynolds by H. Weekes.

Address:
Leicester Square London United Kingdom


Website: [Web Link]

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