Statue of Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Bronze statue of Victorian man standing
The statue in May 2004
ArtistCarlo Marochetti
Yearc. 1877
MediumBronze sculpture
SubjectIsambard Kingdom Brunel
DesignationGrade II
LocationLondon, United Kingdom
Coordinates51°30′39″N 0°06′55″W / 51.5108°N 0.1152°W / 51.5108; -0.1152

A bronze statue of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, also known as Brunel Monument or the Isambard Brunel Monument,[1] by Carlo Marochetti, stands on the Victoria Embankment in London, England, at the west end of Temple Place.[2] The statue rests on a Portland stone pedestal, with flanking screens and benches, by the architect Richard Norman Shaw.[3]


The 8 ft (2.4 m) 2.45m bronze statue portrays Brunel standing casually, bareheaded, with his left leg slightly forward. The figure wears contemporary Victorian dress of frock coat, waistcoat, shirt, bow tie, and trousers, with a pair of dividers in his hands, but without the characteristic top hat or cigar in the widely recognised 1857 photograph. He gazes upstream under the arches of Waterloo Bridge towards Hungerford Bridge, although Brunel's Hungerford Bridge was removed in 1860 and the chains used to complete Clifton Suspension Bridge.

The tall square Portland stone pedestal has flanking walls topped with scrolls incorporating benches below was commissioned from Shaw, and bears the inscription "ISAMBARD KINGDOM BRUNEL/ CIVIL ENGINEER/ BORN 1806 DIED 1859".


A memorial committee of the Institute of Civil Engineers commissioned the sculpture in 1860, some months after Brunel's death on 14 September 1859.[4] While protracted discussions continued about an appropriate site to erect it and other statues, the bronze statue was completed in 1864 and kept in storage, and Marochetti died in 1867.[5]

The Institute of Civil Engineers had also commissioned Marochetti to make a similar statue of Brunel's rival engineer Robert Stephenson, who died a few weeks after Brunel on 12 October 1859, and then a third statue for the railway engineer Joseph Locke who died a year later, on 18 September 1860. The intention was to erect the three statues together in a prominent position in Parliament Square, then known as the churchyard of St Margaret's, Westminster, near the statue of George Canning beside the offices of the Institute of Civil Engineers at One Great George Street. After initially granting permission, the Office of Works decided against in 1868, reserving the space for statues of politicians.[6]

Ultimately the three statues were erected separately. Marochetti's statue of Joseph Locke was installed in Locke Park, Barnsley, in 1866.[7] The statue and its enclosure were listed at Grade II in 1986.[8] A copy is displayed in Barentin, France, where Locke designed a railway viaduct. The statue of Robert Stephenson was donated to the London and North Western Railway, and installed on a red granite pedestal outside Euston railway station in 1871. The statue in the station forecourt is one of few surviving elements of the original station after it was redeveloped in the 1960s, and it was listed at Grade II in 1974.[9][10][11]


For Brunel's statue, Shaw was commissioned to design a stone pedestal. His design, with novel flanking walls creating a screen, was accepted in 1874, and the pedestal was completed and the statue installed in 1877.[3] (The National Portrait Gallery has a half-plate negative photograph of the statue by Elliott & Fry which they date to 1857, although the plinth shows Brunel's date of death in 1859.[12])

The statue became a grade II listed building in 1958.[3] The statue and screen were restored in 1950, repairing damage caused by both the weather and by enemy action during the Second World War.


A bronze resin copy of Marochetti's statue was unveiled in 1973 in Havelock Square, Swindon, mounted on a tall cylindrical granite plinth with wider rim, resembling a smokestack or top hat, on the opening of the first stage of the Brunel shopping centre. It was reinstalled after building works in 2018.[13]

A half-length bust of the statue is installed beside North Street, Saltash, looking east towards the Brunel's Royal Albert Bridge and the Tamar Bridge.[14]


  1. ^ MacLeod, Christine (20 December 2007). Heroes of Invention: Technology, Liberalism and British Identity, 1750–1914. Cambridge University Press. p. 290. ISBN 9780521873703. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  2. ^ "Sir Marc Isambard Brunel". The Mechanical News: An Illustrated Journal of Manufacturing, Engineering, Milling and Mining. 23 (2). J. Leffel & Company: 39. 1893. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Historic England. "Statue of I K Brunel (1357346)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 24 September 2020.
  4. ^ Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Baron Marochetti, 1864, The Victorian Web
  5. ^ Baron (Pietro) Carlo Giovanni Battista Marochetti, Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851–1951, University of Glasgow
  6. ^ Isambard Kingdom Brunel, from Philip Ward-Jackson's Marochetti catalogue, FineArtFacts
  7. ^ Joseph Locke, from Philip Ward-Jackson's Marochetti catalogue, FineArtFacts
  8. ^ Statue of Joseph Locke and enclosure in Locke Park, National Heritage List for England, Historic England
  9. ^ Statue of Robert Stephenson in Euston Station Forecourt, National Heritage List for England, Historic England
  10. ^ Richard Norman Shaw, Andrew Saint, Yale University Press for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2010, ISBN 0300155263, p.48
  11. ^ Robert Stephenson, from Philip Ward-Jackson's Marochetti catalogue, FineArtFacts
  12. ^ Statue of Isambard Kingdom Brunel at Temple, London, National Portrait Gallery
  13. ^ "Brunel welcomed back to Swindon", Swindon Advertiser, 11 August 2016
  14. ^ "All set for Brunel events", Cornish Times, 10 March 2006