Ranking the 10 best statues at King’s College London
A question on every King’s students mind: Which is the best statue on campus?
Still haven’t managed to get yourself down to the museums to admire all of the beautiful artwork London has *ahem* “acquired”? Uni assignments taking up all your time? Possibly you are just a procrastination champion but you still want to fill your day in solitude with a statue or two?
Thankfully, King’s has so many fascinating statues, but that can make it quite difficult when choosing which statue should accompany your studies. So here are the top ten statues you can find across Strand and Guy’s Campuses.
10. Sir James Goodhart, and the rest of the busts in the Hodgkin Building
Starting us off we have Sir James Goodhart and his band of merry busts. Situated in the corridors of the Hodgkin Building, he sits as a bust scratching his head among several other busts of other medical marvels and alumni.
Sir Goodhart has been picked out as the star of the show simply because of his gesture. Most busts don’t tend to have hands, so this sets him apart from the rest and draws your eyes to him. Busts make the inside of the building match the outside in beauty. Live your pinterest dark academia dreams and take a stroll through these halls.
7/10 – Beautiful busts
9. Wax Virginia
Whilst not technically a statue, she belongs on this list if not for how iconic she is, for how creepy she is.
This figure of Virginia Woolf has resided in her own building by the lifts, terrorising unsuspecting freshers every year. Now, whilst Ms Woolf is perhaps not quite Madame Tussauds ready, she does possess this weirdly life-like stare, which is what creates that unsettled feeling you get when you see her. This can be attested to artist Eleanor Cook’s incredible attention to detail. She studied many photos of Woolf to nail her face and expressions almost a little too well.
7.5/10 – Yes she may evoke the uncanny valley in every other student, but she’s an iconic KCL figure, you can’t hate her!
8. Asclepius and Hygieia
Asclepius, famed as the Ancient Greek god of medicine, makes his appearance on Old Guy’s House, Borough Street entrance alongside Hygieia, goddess of health. Guy’s campus is of course a science and medical campus and so their presence at the entrance goes hand in hand with the student’s own ambitions. As you’ll come to see, the Greco-Roman style statues really add a certain flare to wherever they live.
Ascelpius and Hygieia are paired up on this list as they are both a part of the front of the building, along with several other art pieces. One being a renowned healer and the other a patron for hygiene and mental health, the pair compliment each other beautifully.
8/10 – What a grand entrance!
Did you know there’s a statue in the Maughan gardens? Well now you do – in fact there’s two! The larger of the pair is who has made this list today: Confucius. Gifted to King’s in 2010 by the Confucian Academy of Hong Kong to honour the launch of “The King’s China Institute”.
If you did want to go and see Confucius, now is the best time! Also known as Kong Qui, he was a philosopher of the Spring and Autumn period so he looks perfectly at home when the leaves start to fall. He is surrounded by a circle of stone benches and hidden by hedgerows making this statue feel like a visit to a secret garden if you can ignore your mate puffing on their vape next to you.
8/10 – He has kind eyes 🙂
An original composition by sculptor Ferdinand Seeboeck, Sappho can be found just below Reggie on the King’s Building Foyer staircase. She faces another sculpture of Sophocles, who bears a very similar style. It is believed that she was in fact made as a companion statue for Sophocles.
King’s College shockingly only has a few statues of women versus their many of men, making Sappho all that more important than her neighbour. Due to her lyric poetry being so evocative, she has also been the influence for words such as lesbian and sapphic (which is insanely cool). Sappho, often considered the 10th muse, is in my opinion, a much more interesting sight than Sophocles.
8.5/10 – Sappho is cool!
How could Reggie not make this list? The iconic mascot of King’s, Reggie is depicted in statue form as a red lion with his paw on top of a golden ball. Reggie was stolen from us during a long-standing feud with UCL who castrated our boy! In fact, it was this so-called “mascotry” between UCL and KCL that inspired the creation of our mascot.
With his only predecessor being a bottle of beer named Bottled Youth, Reggie (formerly Lucy, then Rex) was an instant hit and is immortalised as the statue we know and love today now sitting on the stairs of the King’s Building Foyer. What the Reggie statue lacks in realism, he makes up for with how cute and shaggy he looks!
9/10 – Long live Reggie!
4. Guy’s Memorial
Also not really a statue, but a wonderful stone memorial at Guy’s Campus. Guy’s Memorial is a huge arch in the middle of Guy’s Campus honouring those staff and students of Guy’s Hospital and Medical School who died during World War I.
It features the words “their name liveth for evermore” along with the names of those brave staff and students. There is not much more to comment on other than the magnificence of the arch and the important message of remembrance it carries.
9/10 – The arch is a beautiful way to commemorate those who came before us.
3. John Keats
You can find John in his den of sorts in the courtyard of Old Guy’s Building. The legendary poet sits on a round bench with a book on his lap meaning you too can join little John and read a book, admire the scenery or contemplate your choice of degree, as many of us have done. One might be led to believe the statue is a miniature of Keats, however at five feet, it’s more akin to his true height.
9/10 – Go and read with the short king.
Sadly I did not manage to grab a photo of this beautiful statue myself as there’s currently some construction work happening around it.
Crafted after the Roman boat remains found underneath the Cancer Centre at Guy’s Hospital. It is a three metre long bronze beauty crafted by Daniel Silver. There are two faces on either side of the ship that mimic a dragon of sorts. These would have been featured on the ship that inspired this artwork too. Silver’s interpretation is a little more abstract than a real ship, with smooth lines flowing throughout the sculpture. It reminds those that see it that we are a lot more connected to London’s Roman ancestors than we may think.
10/10 – A beautiful welcome piece.
1. To the Friendship of English Speaking Peoples
A personal favourite statue, these two half-naked men welcome thousands of King’s students into North Bush House everyday. Titled “To the Friendship of English Speaking Peoples”, two figures are seen holding a torch together above the entrance to symbolise the unity between America and England.
They also just tend to add an extra level of grandeur to the building – the kind that makes you proudly point out the building to your friends and family visiting London and say “that’s MY university. That’s where I go!” What is it about the Greco-Roman style of statues that just elevate any building they live on?
10/10 – Fancy