The Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain or "Eros" (1885–1893) by Alfred Gilbert, Piccadilly Circus

There are more than 400 public artworks in the City of Westminster, a borough in central London. The borough has more public sculpture than any other area of London.[1] This reflects its central location containing most of the West End, the political centres of Westminster and Whitehall and three of the Royal Parks (Green Park, Hyde Park and St James's Park, with parts also of Regent's Park and Kensington Gardens). Many of the most notable sites for commemoration in London are to be found in the City of Westminster, including Trafalgar Square, Parliament Square and the Victoria Embankment. Other monuments of note in the borough include the Albert Memorial and the Victoria Memorial. After World War I many memorials to that conflict were raised in the area, the most significant being the Grade I listed Cenotaph in Whitehall. So great is the number of monuments in the borough that Westminster City Council has deemed an area stretching from Whitehall to St James's to be a "monument saturation zone", where the addition of new memorials is generally discouraged. The same restriction applies in Royal Parks within the borough.[2]

Lists of public art by district

Temporary artworks

The City of Westminster hosts several temporary displays of sculpture. The most prominent of these is at the Fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, which has shown works by contemporary artists on rotation since 1999. Temporary outdoor displays of sculpture can also be seen at the Royal Academy and the Chelsea College of Arts.

In 2010 Westminster City Council launched the City of Sculpture festival, which has seen contemporary sculpture installed in locations across the borough.[3] Initially intended for the run-up to the 2012 Olympic Games in London, the project's duration has been extended beyond that point. The showcased works are exhibited at the galleries' and the sculptors' expense.[4] The scheme has been criticised for its perceived commercialism[5] and its sculptures have been described as "plop art".[6]


  1. ^ Ward-Jackson, Philip (2011). Public Sculpture of Historic Westminster: Volume 1. Public Sculpture of Britain. Vol. 14. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. p. xix. ISBN 978-1-84631-691-3.
  2. ^ Westminster City Council. Statues and Monuments in Westminster: Guidance for the Erection of New Monuments Supplementary Planning Document (PDF). pp. 21 and 23. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 October 2013. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  3. ^ City of Sculpture. City of Westminster. Archived from the original on 5 October 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
  4. ^ "Councillor Robert Davis, Westminster City Council". 3rd Dimension. Public Monuments & Sculpture Association. 27 March 2014. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  5. ^ "A memorial too far". The Burlington Magazine. Vol. 153, no. 1304. November 2011. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  6. ^ Luke, Ben (3 August 2017). "Drop the 'plop art': The worst—and best—public art springing up near new homes from Mayfair to Battersea". Evening Standard. London. Retrieved 26 January 2019.