Queen Victoria on horseback

1853 (made)

Thornycroft, Thomas

Height: 55 cm

A.6-1972 SCP

Statuette, bronze, Queen Victoria on horseback, by Thomas Thorneycroft, English, 1853

The statuette depicts Queen Victoria wearing a feathered hat, seated side-saddle on a horse with its right foreleg raised. Signed and dated.

The composition of this statuette (one of several extant versions) is derived from a similar equestrian group executed in marble by Thomas Thornycroft and his wife Mary, which was exhibited at the 1851 International Exhibition. The pose of the horse appears however to be taken from an engraving in the Illustrated London News of 2nd July 1853, commemorating Queen Victoria reviewing the troops at Chobham. The statuettes are therefore adaptions rather than straightforward reductions of the 1851 statue. Thorneycroft later used this composition for a colossal bronze equestrian statue of Queen Victoria of 1869 to act as a pendant to that of Prince Albert, erected at Lims Street, St George's Plateau, Liverpool. The present piece is one of around fifty which were commissioned by the Art Union of London to be distributed as annual prizes between 1854 and 1859. After an ill-suited apprenticeship as a surgeon, Thomas Thornycroft (1815-1885) was sent to London and apprenticed to the sculptor John Francis (1780-1861). His wife Mary was the daughter of John Francis. He made an over-life sized plaster equestrian statue of Queen Victoria for the Great Exhibition of 1851. His monumental equestrian statue of Boadicea and her daughters now stands on Westminster Bridge. He also made the marble group 'Commerce' for the base of the Albert Memorial in Hyde Park.

Originally in the Handley-Read Collection. Bought from Thomas Stainton, Buckinghamshire in 1972 for £275.

Location: In Storage

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