Bust of Queen Victoria

Made in Australia, Oceania, 1880-1890.

This marble bust of Queen Victoria, the second longest-reigning British monarch (1837-1901), is believed to have been commissioned by architect John Horbury Hunt to decorate façade of his Farmer and Company’s landmark Sydney building (now demolished) completed in 1874.

Hundreds of sculpted portraits of Queen Victoria adorned public spaces and buildings across Australian colonies in the second part of the 19th century. Most were imported copies of famous British statues and busts but some were ...

Summary

90/960
Head-and-shoulders portrait bust carved in unpolished marble with accompanying carved stone socle. The bust depicts a young Queen, wearing a low cut, off the shoulder dress, trimmed with a band of fleur-de-lis lace. Her hair is plaited and coiled at the back of her head. She wears a circlet composed of fleur-de-lis and Maltese crosses. Around her neck is a pearl necklace with a Maltese cross.

The bust is mounted on a circular steel rod on a separate carved stone socle (shaped pedestal) which is square with a cushion shaped base, concave shaped pedestal and square top. Tool marks are visible on the upper surface.

Dimensions

700 mm
700 mm
300 mm
260 kg

Production

The maker and the place of production of the bust are unknown. While it is possible that the bust was used in Farmer’s pre-1874 smaller Victoria House store, one can assume that Hunt would have preferred to commission a new bust for his new building: his 1872 façade drawings include an alcove for the bust prominently located in the first floor above the northern entrance. The bust’s execution points to local production and its design appears to be a composite of existing images of Queen Victoria in different media from the 1840s -1860s. The coronet and the style of hair and dress resemble those in profile portraits seen on medals designed by the English medallist William Wyon, particularly those issued for the opening of the new Royal Exchange in London in 1844 (N2317). Well known marble busts such as that by the Scottish sculptor Alexander Brodie completed in 1867 show similar facial features.
1880-1890

History

Grace Bros

Source

Gift of Grace Bros Pty Ltd, 1990
28 September, 1990

Cite this Object

Bust of Queen Victoria 2016, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 24 November 2017, <https://ma.as/110989>
{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/110989 |title=Bust of Queen Victoria |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=24 November 2017 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
This object is currently on display in Icons: From the MAAS Collection at the Powerhouse Museum.
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