Type Sculpture , Statue
Queen Victoria portrayed seated, wearing a crown, with a sceptre in her right hand (which she rests on her right thigh) and an orb in her left. She is wearing a heavy brocade dress with a sash and cloak, and her feet are resting on a cushion.
Design of throne related to architectural elements from the surrounding buildings (especially the Gamble Institute), with details in the Arts and Crafts style. High arched back made up of circular laurel wreath tied with long ribbons, flanked by two squre-section pillars with capitals made from 4 attenuated oak trees ('Frampton Tree' capitals).
As mayor of St Helens, in the Coronation Year of 1901-2, Colonel W.W. Pilkington offered to give a statue of Queen Victoria to the people of St Helens, home to his own Pilkington Glassworks. The Town Council accepted Pilkington's offer, and looked at a model in October 1903, but no records exist about the Council's official approval of the final piece.
Over the same period of time from 1901-5, the City of Leeds had commissioned a statue of Queen Victoria from George Frampton. For the St Helens version, Frampton used the Leeds cast, but he replaced the throne with an Arts and Crafts design similar to the throne in his Queen Victoria statue for Calcutta.
On 15 April 1905, Pilkington unveiled the statue to the people of St Helens. In his speech, Pilkington noted that the statue should serve as "an example to all classes of her subjects, as a ruler, as a wife, a mother, and as a Christian lady." He also gave reasons behind the siting of the sculpture in the middle of Victoria square: the Courts of Justice, the Town Hall, and the Gamble Institute all represent the ideals supported by Victoria, namely, the execution of justice, high standards of authority and government, learning, and the fields of art and science.
After the unveiling, Lord Derby revealed his hopes for the sculpture, as a "forerunner of others that might grow up in the town", so that St Helens "could be not only a place where industry flourished, but also a place where art might find some home".
The statue, situated in the middle of Victoria Square, originally faced the Town Hall. On the day before its unveiling, the statue was resited to look across the square, towards Corporation Street. In 1910, Colonel Pilkington moved the statue again to face back towards the Town Hall. An application is currently being made to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport for permission to move the monument to the west side of the square as part of a redevelopment of Victoria Square as a whole.
Plaque 1: VICTORIA 1837- 1901
Plaque 2: ERECTED BY COLONEL W.W. PILKINGTON. VD., J.P. 1906
Related works : Same cast used for monuments in Leeds (1901-5), Winnipeg (1904)
Similar statue of Queen Victoria in Frampton's memorial for Victoria Memorial Hall, Calcutta (1897). Similar St George on Boer War Memorial, Radley College (1904) and Winnipeg monument.
PMSA recording information