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Notes on the Geography of The United Kingdom: London 4: Albertopolis: Photo 17

world pictures The United Kingdom: London 4: Albertopolis

Prince Albert gazes across a very busy street and upon the Royal Albert Hall, which was designed by Captain Francis Fowke of the Royal Engineers and completed in 1871. Contrary to first impressions, the footprint is elliptical, not circular, with the greater axis perpendicular to the street. The walls are of brick with terra cotta decoration. The roof, steel-framed, is of wrought iron. The mercilessly didactic frieze, more of the ever-earnest bildung that was part of the Albert package, depicts "The Triumph of Arts and Sciences." Pevsner grants the building "a clean, convincing simplicity" (3:489). He also notes that opinions in the 1880s ran the gamut from "a pile worthy of Rome in its palmiest days" to "on the familiar curves of the common bandstand." Stamp and Amery comment only that it is "very simple--if not crude and naive--compared with the contemporary Opéra in Paris" (p. 88).

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