Queen Victoria, Leeds, by Frampton

Memorial to Queen Victoria by Sir George Frampton R.A., P.R.B.S. (1860-1928). 1903. Bronze figures on a Portland stone base, with elaborate stone carvings (the royal arms, the city arms, swags etc.). Woodhouse Moor, Leeds. Photographs and caption by Jacqueline Banerjee. [You may use these images 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. ]

Left to right: (a) The whole memorial. (b) The memorial in its setting. (c) The figure of Peace on the left-hand side. [Click on these images for larger pictures.]

Even though it is outside the city centre now, this is one of the finest monuments in Leeds. It was moved here in 1937 from Victoria Square, where it stood in front of the Town Hall (see Leach and Pevsner 471). Queen Victoria often looks dour and stolid in later sculptural works, but her expression here is pleasantly gracious, and her whole bearing rather animated. Perhaps it helps that there is no cumbersome back to her throne, or canopy over it (see Alfred Gilbert's Victoria in Newcastle). Depicted in middle rather than old age, the Queen looks out benignly over her empire (India, Canada, Africa and Australia are inscribed around the base), and Frampton has put a touch more femininity into her figure by emphasising her waist. According to Benedict Read, she is wearing her coronation robes, hence the rich brocade and tassels (364; see also Frampton's standing statue of her in Lucknow). Since Read saw the monument, her orb has disappeared, as has one of the two flanking bronze figures below. Peace on the left still has a small globe in one hand, but lacks the palm branch which she once held in the other; Industry, which Read describes as "an heroic, muscular male, stripped to the waist and surrounded by the implements of the industries of Leeds" (364), has disappeared altogether from its niche on the right. That being said, the monument is well tended (in contrast to Marochetti's Duke of Wellington, only a short walk away in the same piece of parkland), and still very impressive.

References

Leach, Peter, and Nikolaus Pevsner. Yorkshire West Riding, Leeds, Bradford and the North. The Buildings of England series. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2009.

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


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Last modified 25 June 2011