Statues and Trees

Previous page: Central Garden

One of the adornments indicated appears to have been an equestrian statue of George III as Marcus Aurelius, which was executed by Beaupré under the direction of Wilton for the Princess Amelia, who had it placed there in 1766, but this was removed in 1827. Allen spoke of "the clumsy" pedestal which supported it, while Mason, writing to Walpole, said:

"I congratulate you on your removal to Berkeley Square. May you enjoy the comforts of your new situation as long as the Phidian work which is placed in the centre of that square continues to be its chief ornament."

Although the statue has disappeared and been replaced by a summerhouse, a stone statue of a female still remains at the south side of the centre garden. Relating to this is a story told by the late Sir Mountstuart Grant Duff.

"Conversation," said the Diarist, "found its way, via last night's discussion in the House about Cromwell's statue, to open air statues in London generally, and I said something in praise of the one at the bottom of Berkeley Square. 'You don't, I presume,' remarked Courtney, 'agree with Herbert Spencer, who declares that it is superior to the Venus of Milo.' 'Not seriously?' I said. 'Most seriously,' was the rejoinder; 'he would be quite ready to demonstrate the truth to you on the spot.'"

The plane trees in this central garden are said to be the finest and oldest in London - and Hare, in his Walks in London, mentioned that they were planted by Edward Bouverie in 1759.

Next page: Berkeley Square Mystery