The Angas family initiated a movement to erect a memorial to G.F. and J.H. Angas in 1909. Initially, it was proposed that the memorial be placed in the north-western corner of Victoria Square. Council granted the request but then discovered that two years before, the site had been granted to the Captain Sturt Statue Fund, which intended to place a statue of Sturt there. After some protests from members of the Sturt fund, Council asked the Angas family to relinquish the site. The family agreed. A site on North Terrace, in the Prince Henry Gardens in front of Government House grounds was selected and prepared in January 1914 and in 1915 the statue was placed there.
The inspiration for the design of the memorial is said to be Italian and the memorial is a fine example of Classical architectural components. The memorial is covered by a marble canopy supported by marble Ionic columns. The canopy and column structure is located on several steps of white marble. In the centre of the canopy is a column of green Italian marble on the summit of which is an Elizabethan ship of gilt. The four sides of the central column are occupied by bas-reliefs of the portraits of the two South Australian settlers. One face of the column depicts German immigrants departing from the homeland. On the steps at the base stands a draped and winged figure representing Fame, bearing a palm branch and pointing to the bas-relief of G.F. Angas.
The statue was executed in London and the canopy made in Italy. In 1912 a plaster cast of the memorial was sent from England by the sculptor to the family for approval. The design is said to be taken from “one of Rodin’s masterpieces in the Tuileries Gardens in Paris”. The memorial was described as “a wonderful piece of artistic handicraft that was a quite new design for Australia but not uncommon in Europe”.
The sculptor, William Robert Colton, was born in Paris in 1867 and died in England in 1921. He studied at the English Lambeth School of Art, the Royal College of Art and the Royal Academy Schools. He exhibited in Paris and won a silver medal for his work at the Exposition Universalle in 1900. Colton taught sculpture at the Royal Academy schools and at the Royal College of Art. His traditional neo-classical work was evidently very fashionable at the turn of the century, and ranged from public monuments to portrait busts and statuettes. He exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy and was the President of the Royal Society of British Sculptors at the time of his death. His most well-known works include the Wavelet and the Springtide of Life.
In 1929, along with many statues on North Terrace, the Angas Memorial was moved to its new location. It was intended for the Angas Gardens but when the foundation had been prepared the Council changed its mind and selected a new site.