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Prince Albert holding the catalogue of the Great Exhibition of 1851 by John Henry Foley (1818-1874). Completed: 1876 (unveiled by Queen Victoria). Gilded bronze. The Albert Memorial. This photograph shows the relation of the statue of Albert to the friezes, groups depicting the useful arts, and the bronze statues at each corner. [Click on this image and those below to enlarge them.]

After Marochetti, who first received the commission died, and according to Read, Foley designed it, but it was executed by either Thomas Brock or G. Teniswood (Read). A contemporary mention of visiting the sculptor's studio on October 29, 1873 suggests, contrary to Read, that Foley must have carried out a good part of the “execution” of the final version. According to Alfred Domett, the old friend of Browning who had emigrated to New Zaland and was visiting England, the sculptor was

was very kind and affable and shewed us through his studio. The model of the Statue of Prince Albert for The Hyde Park monument was there. He says when the Queen came to see it, she liked the expression of the face so much that she desired it might not even be touched by him any further, and so, though he had not considered it quite finished he had complied with her request and left it as it was. The statue, to be in bronze gilt, had been so long in execution, because in the hurry to get it done, the molten metal had been poured into the mould before the latter was thoroughly dry, so that the generated steam had exploded and destroyed it. Thus to save a week, they had lost 6 months at least for the extra work required to make a second mould. [112]

Domett's diary entry makes clear that Foley had completed modelling Prince Albert and created the mould that had been destroyed. It would also seem to suggest that the second mould had already been made by the time of his visit.

Photographs (2006) at top and below left by Robert Freidus. Right photograph in the bottom row (1999), formatting, perspective correction, and commentary, by George P. Landow. You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]

References

The Diary of Alfred Domett, 1872-1885. Ed. E. A. Horsman. London: Geoffrey Cumberledge/Oxford University Peress, 1953.

Read, Benedict. Victorian Sculpture. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982.


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Last modified 2 September 2011