The Victorian public spirit, having taken the name of Prince Albert, built a memorial to itself in a corner of London where followers of the Victorian idea still congregate during the promenade season, rehearsing their attachment to a musical culture which is at once popular and sublime. Across from Scott’s scrupulously pedagogic memorial stands the Albert Hall, like a giant dish cover, with a ceramic frieze declaring that poetry, transfixed in pottery, is eternal. Next to it stands the Royal College of Organists, its facade veneered with embossed and painted tiles, each continuing the classical motifs which culminate in the Greek anthemions of the chimneys. In the background the red-faced mansion blocks stand in matronly postures, their balconies like folded arms, observing from high windows the order to which public and private make equal contribution. Wealth and achievement shine forth from every building, and the...


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