New Book Release from PMSA
Queen Victoria’s Equestrian Portrait Statues
By Philip Ward-Jackson
Sculpture historian Philip Ward-Jackson unravels a battle royal between sculptors seeking the prestigious commission to make an equestrian portrait statue of the Queen.
Published by PMSA
Production by Richard Barnes | Frontier
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“The sculptured image of Queen Victoria with which countless jubilee and posthumous memorials have made us familiar, is of a standing or seated figure with orb or sceptre or both, a dignified, unsmiling grandmother of Empire. Which may cause us to forget the more energetic young woman, whose habit had been to ride at the head of a sometimes thirty strong cavalcade through Windsor Park in the early years of her reign.”
“The image of the equestrian Victoria was to inspire a group of sculptures, not all of which have survived, but which are remarkable for being the first sculpted equestrian portraits of any contemporary woman, let alone a queen, reflecting recent advances in side-saddle design and fashions in riding costume. A pleasant enough artistic excursion it might be supposed, but one which gave rise to a true ‘battle royal’ amongst sculptors around 1850. The disputed prize was the commission for a statue commemorating the Queen’s visit to Glasgow, but, for the man who won it, Carlo Marochetti, it was to prove no more than a Pyrrhic victory.”
Philip Ward-Jackson studied art at St Martin’s School of Art and art history at the Courtauld Institute. Most of his professional life was spent working in the Courtauld’s Conway Library, a photographic archive devoted to recording architecture, sculpture and manuscripts. Since the foundation of the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association in 1991, he has taken a special interest in the association’s National Recording Project, and has himself contributed two volumes on central London’s public sculpture to the project. Since retirement in 2005, he has continued to research and write on his favourite topic, sculptors from mainland Europe working in Britain in the 19th and 20th centuries.