The Victoria Memorial, at the centre of Queen's Gardens in front of Buckingham Palace, was built by the sculptor Sir Thomas Brock and dedicated by King George V on May 16, 1911. The surround was constructed by the architect Sir Aston Webb, from 2,300 tons of white marble.
The imposing memorial is fronted by a statue of Queen Victoria, facing north-eastwards towards the The Mall, surmounted, 82-feet high, by a gilded winged Victory with two seated figures. The other sides of the monument feature dark patinated bronze statues of the Angel of Justice (facing north-westwards toward Green Park), the Angel of Truth (facing south-eastwards) and Charity, or Motherhood facing Buckingham Palace. The plinth, raised by four steps above the surround, has ships' prows facing the corners, suggestive of Britain ruling the seas, and maintaining the nautical complement to The Mall.
The whole surround has an enclosing wall, adorned by monumental allegorical bronze groups. Two sets of steps, topped by figures of men with lions on each side lead to ground level. At the ends of the stairs are grotesque Neptunelike bronze heads in relief on panels. Around the main strcuture is a shallow moat, and on the outside surface of the inner enclosing wall Brock put marble friezes in high relief, showing mermaids, mermen, a beaked creature like a hippogriff, and other sea creatures. Many of the subsidiary figures were generously gifted by the people of New Zealand.
Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; May 24, 1819 – January 22, 1901) was the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from June 20, 1837, and the first Empress of India from May 1, 1876, until her death. Her reign as Queen lasted 63 years and seven months, longer than that of any other British monarch. The period centered on her reign, known as the Victorian era, represented the height of the Industrial Revolution, a period of significant social, economic, and technological progress. Victoria's reign was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire; during this period it reached its zenith, becoming the foremost global power of the time.