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Statue of Marshal Foch

List Entry Summary

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

Name: Statue of Marshal Foch

List entry Number: 1066732

Location

Lower Grosvenor Gardens, Victoria, London SW1

The building may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Greater London Authority

District: City of Westminster

District Type: London Borough

Parish: Non Civil Parish

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: II*

Date first listed: 24-Feb-1958

Date of most recent amendment: 18-Feb-2016

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: LBS

UID: 209960

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Building

Commemorative equestrian statue to Marshal Foch, 1930, by the sculptor Georges Malissard. The pedestal was designed by the architect P Lebret.

Reasons for Designation

The Statue of Marshall Foch, Lower Grosvenor Gardens, is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons: * Historic interest: Foch, is the only French military commander to have been made an honorary field-marshal in the British Army. In August 1918, he commanded a series of operations which led to the Germans seeking an armistice in November 1918. For this reason, Foch is credited with masterminding the victory over Germany. There is no question as to his historical importance; * Sculptural interest: by a noted French sculptor, the memorial is of high quality and is a rare example in England of a continental commemorative statue; * Group value: prominently located in Lower Grosvenor Gardens, the memorial has group value with the surrounding buildings: 23-47 and 36-50 Grosvenor Gardens (Grade II) and the Grosvenor Hotel (Grade II*).

History

The statue of Marshal Foch was designed by the sculptor Georges Malissard (1877-1942) and the pedestal by the architect P Lebret. Foch is the only French military commander to have been made an honorary field-marshal in the British Army and his standing was ensured by the placing of a statue of him in central London.

Ferdinand Foch (1851-1929) was born in Tarbes in the Hautes-Pyrenees and commissioned in the artillery in 1873. He was appointed commander of the 20th corps of the French army when war broke out in August 1914; he contributed to the victory of the Battle of the Marne (5-12 September 1914) and halted the German advance at the River Yser. He was promoted to commander of the Northern Army Group and saw service during the Somme offensive in 1916. He was made Chief of the General Staff in 1918 and subsequently Commander of the Allied Armies. He put into operation a successful counter-offensive against the Germans along the Marne River. In August 1918 he followed this up with a series of operations which led to the Germans seeking an armistice in November 1918. For this reason, Foch was credited with masterminding the victory over Germany. His stature in French military history was assured.

After Foch's death, Lord Askwith, a sometime lawyer and industrial administrator, suggested a statue should be raised to Foch by the British people. In 1929 the Foch Memorial Committee decided to erect a replica of the equestrian statue by Georges Malissard which had been unveiled in 1928 at Mont Cassel, between Lille and Calais. The Committee asked the Duke of Westminster if they could place the statue on his land at Grosvenor Gardens and he agreed that it could be sited at the northern end. When Malissard came to London he insisted that the statue be placed at the southern end where it would be seen by all Frenchmen arriving in London (Victoria Station is nearby) and by the guardsmen marching to and from Chelsea Barracks.

The statue was unveiled on 5 June 1930 by HRH Prince of Wales. In 1952 the gardens were redesigned in the French style with the statue now being set within a rectangular enclosure. The statue was re-dedicated with the Ambassador of France in attendance. The statue was listed at Grade II on 24 February 1958. The enclosure design was modified to that of today (2016) sometime after 1979. A inscribed bronze plaque was fixed to a sloping stone on the west face of the pedestal but has since been removed and only the stone remains. A stone tablet bearing the same inscription has been inset into the paving in front of the statue to replace the missing bronze plaque.

Details

MATERIALS: bronze equestrian statue on a pedestal of Portland stone.

DESCRIPTION: the 3.2m high statue depicts Foch, in service dress, seated upon a horse. The statue stands on a 3.85m high pedestal. The front (south) face of the pedestal is inscribed: FOCH/ 1851-1929. The right (east) face: 'I AM CONSCIOUS/ OF HAVING SERVED ENGLAND/ AS I SERVED MY OWN COUNTRY' Rear (north) face: MARECHAL FERDINAND FOCH/ MARECHAL DE L'ARMEE/ BRITANNIQUE GRAND CROIX DE LA LEGION D'HONNEUR/ MEDAILLE MILITAIRE/ MEMBRE DE L'ACADEMY FRANCAISE GCB/ OM/ DCL/ MARSHAL OF FRANCE 1918/ GENERALISSIMO OF ALLIED ARMIES 1918/ BRITISH FIELD MARSHAL 1919

An inscribed bronze plaque was fixed to a sloping stone on the left (west) face of the pedestal but has since been removed and only the stone remains. A stone tablet (included in the listing but too small to map) has been inserted into the paving in front of the statue and is inscribed: CETTE STATUE DU MARECHAL FOCH EST L'OEUVRE DU SCULPTEUR/ FRANCAIS GEORGES MALISSARD (1877-1942)/ ELLE FUT INAUGUREE LE 5 JUIN 1930/ PAR SON ALTESSE ROYALE LE PRINCE DE GALLES



Selected Sources

Books and journals
Ward-Jackson, P, Public Sculpture of Historic Westminster, volume 1, (2012), 51-53
Websites
Marshal Foch IWM no. 60691, accessed 5 November 2015 from http://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/60691

National Grid Reference: TQ 28845 79128

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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End of official listing