MCKENNAL, Sir Edgar Bertram
427 x 472 x 229 cm (pedestal and statue). 200 x 2183 x 750 cm (semi-circular entrance)
"B. McKennal R.A., A.B. Burton Founder, London" / EDWARD VII / 1901- 1910
City of Melbourne Art and Heritage Collection
Edward VII (1841-1910), Sculptor Edgar Bertram Mackennal, founder A.B. Burton, Bronze statue with basalt and granite pedestal, 1920, Queen Victoria Gardens
Location: Queen Victoria Gardens
The king is portrayed in the full dress uniform of a British Field Marshall, holding a baton in his right hand whilst his left is reigning in his spirited charger. Both the King and charger are heroically treated and the simple lines of the granite pedestal lend dignity and grace to the statue. A formal stone alcove on a paved bluestone terrace forms the base of the memorial with two bronze lion heads spouting water into circular pools at each end. Six basalt steps mark the entrance to the memorial.
Mackennal’s statue of Edward VII depicts a heroic king in the full dress uniform of a British field marshal. The eldest son of Queen Victoria, Edward was rebellious into his adulthood and the Queen showed her displeasure by denying him any governmental position. Despite his lack of experience, Edward successfully negotiated England’s conciliation with France, earning him the title of ‘the peacemaker’, and his social reforms made him popular among his subjects.
The desire to create a monument to Edward in Melbourne took hold immediately following his death in 1910. Mackennal was commissioned to undertake the work on a tender of £1867, but the statue eventually cost three times that price. The outbreak of World War One delayed the statue’s production, but casting in London commenced at the war’s end. It was unveiled in 1920.
Sculptor Edgar Bertram Mackennal was much in demand in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His commissions include Melbourne’s statue of Sir William Clarke and the medal for the London Olympics. He was knighted in 1921 and elected to the Royal Academy in 1922.