It was a gift from an American newspaper publisher to the people of England. It honors Queen Victoria and William Shakespeare. It was 1879, the year of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. The water fountain no longer works and the original horse troughs are now planted with flowers but the rest of this “American Monument” is much as it appeared when it was built. Even the clock has been restored to working order.
The Shakespeare Memorial features several inscriptions, including the one most easily seen in this drawing, “Honest water, which ne’er left man i’the more.” – a quotation from Timon of Athens, one of Shakespeare’s plays. It has lions and eagles to represent both countries and a number of other decorative elements. (There’s a wonderful write up with more information about the inscriptions and the memorial itself along with modern-day photos on Sylvia Morris’s wonderful blog The Shakespeare blog.)
This image is copyright free and in the public domain anywhere that extends copyrights 70 years after death or at least 120 years after publication when the original illustrator is unknown.