The Cup of Water

William Shakespeare

Giovanni Fontana

1874

Marble

Leicester Square, WC2

Fontana adapted William Kent's design, executed by Peter Scheemakers, for the Shakespeare memorial in Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey. It is the only outdoor monument to Shakespeare in London, apart from a bronze bust in St Mary Aldermanbury in the city — and that is really a monument to John Heminges and Henry Condell, compilers of the First Folio (see Bollus and Asprey 38). Badly weathered, the sculpture serves as an alternative perch to the many birds attracted by the trees around the square. On this occasion, a gull has dropped by. The words, "There is no darkness but ignorance," come from Twelfth Night, Act 4, sc. ii, and are spoken by the Clown to Malvolio