Object Details

Five allegorical statues

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Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright for Photograph:

Creative Commons

Location

Street:South Victoria Gardens
Town:Brighton
Parish:Brighton
Council:Brighton & Hove City Council
County:East Sussex
Postcode:BN1
Location on Google Map
Object setting:Garden
Access is:Public
Location note:Remaining two plinths are on grassed area, one facing Marlborough Place, the other Grand Parade
In the AZ book:East Sussex
Page:162
Grid reference:F7
The A-Z books used are A-Z East Sussex and A-Z West Sussex (Editions 1A 2005). Geographers' A-Z Map Company Ltd. Sevenoaks.
Previous location:25 Park Lane, London, mansion of Sir Edward Sassoon
Previous location:Before 1897, Victoria Gardens was known as the North Steine

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Makers

Name : Unknown

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General Information

Commissioned by: 'Randlord' Barney Barnato for his mansion at 25 Park Lane, London
Installation date:1898
Work is:Lost
Object listing:Not listed
Iconographical description:The original statues that were sited on the five plinths were allegorical representations of: 'Morning' (symbolized by a youthful warrior holding a sword and gazing at the rising sun), 'Welcome', 'Fidelity', 'Truth' and 'Evening' (represented by an aged warrior resting on his weapon while he watches the sun declining).
Inscription:There is evidence of wording on the bases of the remaining two plinths but this is now illegible.

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Classification

Categories:Free Standing, Sculptural
Object type1:Statue
Object type2:Sculpture
Subject type1:Non-figurative

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Object Parts


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Object Condition

Date of on-site inspection:19/04/2007

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History

History:Situated on either side of Victoria Gardens facing the roads. The statues are long since gone and their fate is unknown but they were erected around 1897. The plinths have occasionally been used for temporary sculptures (in the Festival etc.).

The two remaining blind plinths originally bore allegorical figures. There were five plinths and statues in number originally, representing 'Morning', 'Welcome', 'Fidelity', 'Truth' and 'Night'. The statues were presented to the town in 1897 by Sir Edward Albert Sassoon, 2nd. Bart. (1856 – 1912). The statues came from the grounds of his London, Park Lane Mansion. It is thought that one plinth went to Preston Park, one to the Wild Park and the fifth was 'lost' along with the statues.
The Sassoon family was influential in Brighton and Hove at the end of the 19th century and into the Edwardian era. It was one of the main reasons why King Edward VII paid visits to both towns during his reign which were much welcomed. The Sassoons were known as the Rothschilds of India and made a fortune there, although they generally lived in London Sir Edward Albert Sassoon lived at Eastern Terrace, Kemp Town. When he died in 1912, he left what was then the huge sum of just over a million pounds. After his death, his body was placed in a mausoleum designed in eastern style behind his house. It was later converted into the Hanbury Arms public house. The Sassoons also contributed towards the Peace Statue on the seafront and helped to buy land for St Ann’s Well Gardens.
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Barney Barnato (born Barnett Isaacs) (5 July 1852 – 14 June 1897) was a South African Randlord, one of the entrepreneurs who gained control of diamond mining, and later gold mining, in South Africa from the 1870s.
He was born in 1852 in a slum in Whitechapel in the East End of London, and was educated by Moses Angel at the Jews' Free School. It was a hard life, and a young Barnato is reputed to have begged pass outs from theatre leavers at the Garrick Theatre in Leman Street, to sell them on to others for a halfpenny. He joined his brother Harry in the Cape Colony in 1873 during the ''diamond rush'' which accompanied the discovery of diamonds at Kimberley. His brother had gone out in 1871 and had been working as a comedian and conjurer, and his younger brother wanted to join in, calling out, ''And Barnett, too!'' The oft repeated phrase evolved, to the point which Isaacs changed his name to Barney Barnato.
He formed the Barnato Diamond Mining Company and within ten years he had become a millionaire, primarily by buying worked-out diamond mines area and mining the abandoned blue ground heaps.
He competed with Cecil John Rhodes in taking over the diamond mining industry in Cape Colony by aggressive buying out of competitors, although in the end Rhodes succeeded in buying him and his brother out for around four million pounds, writing the single largest check in history at that point. Barnato subsequently became Kimberley's member of parliament in the Cape Parliament from 1889 until his death.
He reportedly committed suicide by jumping into the ocean and drowning from a ship taking him to England in 1897. However, his family vigorously rejected that theory, as it was so completely against the character of a man who had been a pioneer in the rough and ready days of emerging Southern Africa. His body was recovered and buried in Willesden Jewish Cemetery, near London.
His son, Woolf Barnato, became a racing driver in the 1920s, one of the ''Bentley Boys''. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barney_Barnato)

Anecdote has it that when the statues were first unveiled at 25 Park Lane, the public joked that they were the petrified effigies of Barnato’s creditors.
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‘The five allegorical statues presented by Sir Edward Sassoon, having been erected at Victoria Gardens, the Recreation Grounds Committee have resolved that the name of each statue be inscribed on the base and that an inscription be placed on the statue called ‘Fidelity’ announcing that the statues were presented by Sir Edward Sassoon. A commemorative tablet also to be placed on the lawn at the foot of the Queen’s statue’
(‘Brighton Standard and Fashionable Visitors List’. September 13 1898, p8.)

'Alfred Beit and Barney Barnato, rival diamond millionairres from Hamburg and the East of London respectively, had arrived simultaneously on the Kimberley fields in 1873 and later formed, in partnership with Cecil Rhodes, the great De Beers monopoly. Twenty years on, in the 1890s, they were vying with each other for adjoining Park Lane sites on which to build grandiose houses as a passport to British society. The sites were between Chapel (now Aldford) Street and South Street, in a block of houses due for rebuilding after expiry of their leases. Barnato, who had been born Barnett Isaacs over his father's shop in Aldgate, was already a habitué of Mayfair, having lived in Curzon Street and in a suite at the St. James' Hotel. But his repeated applications for building permission on Park Lane were rejected by the Duke of Westminster on thegrounds that ''he does not stand in a high position in South Africa, and he is a land speculator''.
…Barney Barnato, after his rejection by the Duke of westminster, found himself a more expensive site a little farther south on Park Lane and off the Grosvenor estate, at the junction with Stanhope Gate. Later renumbered as 4 Park Lane, it became in the 1960s the home of the Playboy Club. Here Barnato proceeded to commission a flamboyant imitation of a French chateau, it's roof bristling with gargoyles. It stood just across the street from the mock medieval mansion being built for R.W. Hudson, the soap manufacturer, on the site of a dignified Queen Anne house which had belonged to the Earls of Lanesborough. Hudson's astonishing edifice, all stone curlicues and leaded Gothic windows, is the sole survivor today of Park Lane's era of plutocratic fantasy…
…Barnato's high flying life…did not last to see him fulfil his ultimate goals. The failure of his Rand banking house and a mounting pile of debt had already brought on a kind of breakdown; he was found by his lady companion trying to claw diamonds out of the wallpaper in his Johannesburg home. The MP and magazine editor Henry Labouchere remarked, driving down Park Lane one day, that the contorted statues on Barnato's roof must represent his creditors, turned to stone while waiting to be paid. Still only forty four, Barnato had planned a huge house-warming party for 22 June 1897, the day of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, and he sailed for England on the SS Scot, whose passenger list was studded with Cape dignitaries visiting London for the Jubillee. As the ship approached Madeira he fell or jumped overboard; an officer dived in after him but the sea was choppy and Barnato was already dead, floating head down, by the time a lifeboat reached him. The coroner's verdict was death by drowning 'while temporarily insane'. Barnato's Park Lane palace was bought by Sir Edward Sassoon, the banker and art collector, who got rid of the gargoyles (two of them now grace the rose-garden pool in Brighton's Preston Park) and filled the house with eighteenth-century paintings and furniture.'
('Mayfair: a social history')

‘Finally, Brighton for a year past has been rejoicing in the possession of five statues torn down from the too ornate exterior of Barney Barnato’s new house in Park Lane. After the South African millionaire’s tragic end, the house was purchased by Sir Edward Sassoon, whose taste objected to the allegorical figures, eight feet high, of Night, Morning, Truth, Fidelity, and Welcome. He presented them to the Corporation of Brighton, and they have been erected in the Victoria Gardens.’
(Harmsworth Magazine)

From old postcards and images of Brighton, it seems possible that the statues were moved in the 1930s when Grand Parade was modernised under Captain Maclaren.
(Tim Jefferies, Senior Planning Officer, Hove Town Hall. November 2007)

According to the James Gray Collection (The Regency Society) the statues were removed in January 1924.
Hard archive file:Yes

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References

Source 1 :
     Title:Brighton Standard and Fashionable Visitors List
     Type:Journal
     Date:13/09/1898
     Page:8

Source 2 :
     Title:Harmsworth Monthly Pictorial Magazine
     Article:'Banished London: Extraordinary Fate of London Buildings'
     Type:Journal
     Author:Harper, Charles G.
     Location:British Library
     Edition:009198973
     Date:09/04/1899
     Page:215
     Volume:2
     Volume:9

Source 3 :
     Title:'Mayfair: A Social History'
     Type:Book
     Author:Kennedy, Carol.
     Date:00/00/1986
     Page:168-170
     Publisher:Century Hutchinson. London.


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Photographs





Date: 19/04/2007
Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright: Creative Commons




Date: 19/04/2007
Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright: Creative Commons




Date: 1899
Author: Harmsworth Magazine
Copyright: Harmsworth Magazine

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