Object Details

Statue of Queen Victoria

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Location
Makers
General Information
Classification
Object Parts
Object Condition
History
References
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Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright for Photograph:

Creative Commons

Location

Street:Warrior Square
Town:Hastings
Parish:Hastings
Council:Hastings Borough Council
County:East Sussex
Postcode:TN37
Location on Google Map
Object setting:Road or Wayside
Access is:Public
Location note:On the southern side of Warrior Square
In the AZ book:East Sussex
Page:127
Grid reference:K7
The A-Z books used are A-Z East Sussex and A-Z West Sussex (Editions 1A 2005). Geographers' A-Z Map Company Ltd. Sevenoaks.

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Makers

Name : Francis John Williamson
     Role:Sculptor

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General Information

Construction period:1902
Installation date:1902
Unveiling date:31/12/1902
Work is:Extant
Owner custodian:Hastings Borough Council
Object listing:Grade II: of special interest warranting every effort to preserve them
Listing date:14/09/1976
Description:A bronze statue standing on a granite plinth facing the sea. Classical pose of Victoria - hands are crossed, the right hand holding a sceptre, the left holding on to her robes.
Signatures:North west base of bronze statue:
F.J. WILLIAMSON. SC
ESHER 1902
Inscription:To front (south face) of pink granite plinth:

VICTORIA R I
1837 - 1901

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Classification

Categories:Sculptural, Roadside / Wayside, Free Standing, Commemorative
Object type1:Statue
Object type2:Sculpture
Subject type1:Figurative
     Subject subtype1:Full-length
Subject type2:Portrait
     Subject subtype1:Standing

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Object Parts

Part 1:Step below plinth
     Material:Pink Peterhead granite (unpolished)
Part 2:First step
     Material:Sandstone
Part 3:Statue
     Material:Bronze
     Height (cm):206
     Width (cm):100
     Depth (cm):100
Part 4:Plinth
     Material:Pink Peterhead granite (polished)
     Height (cm):234

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Object Condition

Overall condition:Good
Risk assessment:No known risk
Condition 1 of type:Surface
     Condition 1: Metallic staining
     Condition 2: Bird Guano
     Condition 3: Corrosion, Deterioration
     More details:There is minimal corrosion of the bronze in a few areas. The statue was treated and repainted in November 1964.
Condition 2 of type:Structural
     Condition 1: Replaced parts
     Condition 2: Broken or missing parts
     Condition 3: Cracks, splits, breaks, holes
     More details:There is a hole in the bronze approximately 3cm across on the front lower part of her robes, near the knee. This was where the statue was hit by a bullet from an enemy bomber in WWII. There is a repair evident to a broken piece of the sandstone step on the north west corner. There are small chips to the polished granite plinth on some of the corners.
Date of on-site inspection:24/05/2007

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History

History:The unveiling of the statue was attended by large crowds in good weather. ‘A platform, 40 feet long by about 20 feet broad, was erected on the widened pavement in front of the statue. This was decorated with Venetian masts draped in crimson, from which depended strings of flags. The gaity of the scene was increased by many flags flying at Hastings Pier in the vicinity, and the Union Jack and White Ensign displayed alternately at the masts along the Sea Front’. The Mayor, the Marquis of Abergavenny and the rest of the party arrived at the statue in a procession of carriages. The Marquis had arrived earlier by train. Interestingly, although still only 1903, the newspaper comments that, ‘The ubiquitous camera was in evidence’, amongst the people lining the gardens in Warrior Square. On the approach of the carriages, the Corporation Band played, ‘The March of the Men of Harlech’, ‘All Through the Night’ and other Welsh airs, in compliment to the Marquis.
The Mayor called on the Deputy Mayor to open the proceedings and the Marquis was asked to pull the cord releasing the white covering over the statue. The National Anthem was then played. After a speech by the Marquis, the band played a further programme of music. A luncheon was served at the Eversfield Hotel.
‘The ceremony went through without a hitch – if we except a slight difficulty in getting the covering to fall from the statue at the psychological moment. A humorous incident of the unveiling was the interruption of the Borough Member’s speech by a dog, which leaped at him on the platform with many demonstrations of delight. The canine favourite went away in a carriage with Major Freeman-Thomas, the High Sheriff and Mrs. Burton’.
The memorial committee had debated how to commemorate the passing of the Queen. It had been thought that some building or object, ‘...which might be beneficial to the poor, sick and suffering of the place’, would be more appropriate than a statue but cost implications prevented this both in terms of initial outlay and in subsequent annual maintenance costs. It was also felt that such a project would fail to, ‘...perpetuate the memory for all time of the great Queen they had lost’. When a statue had been decided on and the commission given to Williamson, the late Queen’s private sculptor, it was also hoped to transform Warrior Square Gardens with fountains, flower beds etc. but local landowners would only give up the small strip of land on which the statue was subsequently placed.
The statue represents Queen Victoria at the time of her first Jubilee in 1887 and was modelled from sittings taken at Windsor Castle. The Queen had lent Williamson the jewels, robes etc. to model from. In the original statue from which the Hastings one was modelled, she was not holding the sceptre. The original statue, in marble, was placed in the Examination Hall of the College of Surgeons. Speaking of the original statue, Williamson said, ‘Since then I have executed many replicas. The first statue of Queen Victoria in Ireland is a replica of this in marble, in Londonderry. I have one in Rangoon, and have just sent one to Perth, Western Australia. There is one in King William’s Town, South Africa and another at Paisley, Scotland; another in Auckland, New Zealand; and I am now executing a colossal statue on exactly the same design for Christchurch, New Zealand’. Williamson was also in the process of creating three other replicas for the North West Province of India. At the time of this unveiling he stated, ‘This is the only town in Sussex in which I have anything’.
(Hastings and St. Leonard’s Observer. Saturday 3 January 1903.)
Hard archive file:Yes

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References

Source 1 :
     Title:'Statues and Memorials in Hastings and St. Leonards: a report on condition and conservation options'
     Type:Archive
     Author:Dinsmore, Jennifer.
     Location:Hastings Borough Council
     Date:00/00/1997
     Page:11
     Publisher:Hastings Museum and Art Gallery


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Photographs





Date: 24/05/2007
Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright: Creative Commons




Date: 24/05/2007
Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright: Creative Commons




Date: 24/05/2007
Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright: Creative Commons




Date: 24/05/2007
Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright: Creative Commons

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