The temporary header image of this blog, just for Remembrance Week, features one of four bronze statues on the Royal Artillery Memorial on Hyde Park Corner, by Charles Sargeant Jagger (1885 – 1934). It is my favourite London monument. This is partially, I concede, because I myself am an ex-gunner. But let’s put this to one side, because you can see right away that Jagger was a sculptor of exquisite talent. Jagger himself was a veteran of the Great War, which I think goes a long way to explain why you won’t find more moving war sculptures than his: the poignancy is almost unbearable. We should be grateful that he ignored the rule that dead soldiers should not be portrayed on war memorials.
In addition to the artillery monument, Jagger also sculpted the Great Western Railway memorial which you can find on Platform 1 at Paddington Station. It was unveiled in 1920. It features a soldier reading a letter from home. His facial expression is a perfect blend of concentration, love and calm heroism. I particularly like his non-standard issue Dr Who scarf. It must have given great comfort to the colleagues, friends and relatives of the men of the Great Western who lost their lives.
Of course, these two London memorials are but a small part of Jagger’s body of work. You can find out more here.
The photos featured here are from 2007 when I and some ex-gunner chums took ourselves on our own special Jagger tour.