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AMONG the many sad reminders of war sculpture in this book is Battersea Park’s memorial to the 24th (East Surrey) Division, by Eric Kennington, erected in 1924 and a rare First World War memorial in the modern style. Kennington’s friend, the poet Robert Graves, a captain in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, acted as a model for one of the soldiers shown standing close together as if in a trench, a symbol of comradeship.

Battersea Park’s Peace Pagoda, built in 1985 by a Japanese order of Buddhist monks, was one of a chain built around the world dedicated to the search for international harmony and peace. The search would appear to continue.

In the planning stage, apparently are even more war memorials including, bizarrely, Animals in War; reading through this book one wonders what that great 20th century pacifist and political campaigner Bertrand Russell would have made of it all – his bust sits among the plane trees in Red Lion Square.

With 600 entries including memorials throughout London and Greater London, the author describes the subjects, the donors and the sculptors, although an index of sculptors would have been made for a better reference.

There are some oddities like
the statue to Queen Anne (1665-1714) outside the west front of St Paul’s. The current statue is a replica by R. Belt (1886) of the original by Francis Bird (1712) removed when it deteriorated.

The Queen, who was allegedly fond of spirits, has her back to St Paul’s and faced then a gin shop which provoked the rhyme of a time: “Brandy Nan, Brandy Nan/You’re left in the lurch/Your face to the gin shop, your back to the church.”
No respeck.