Prince Albert (1819-1861), by Matthew Noble (1817-1876). 1864, installed 1870 (see Steggles and Barnes 203). Marble. The statue, the gift of David Sassoon, stands in the centre of the main gallery of the Bhau Daji Lad (formerly V & A) Museum, Mumbai. There could hardly be a more appropriate centrepiece for what was conceived of as Bombay's own version of the Victoria and Albert Museum than a statue of the man who inspired the Great Exhibition of 1851, and consequently the grand permanent edifice of the South Kensington Museum in London, which came to be known as the V & A. [Click on the images to enlarge them.]
The statue is nine feet tall, and the English part of the inscription starts, "ALBERT / PRINCE CONSORT / DEAR TO SCIENCE / DEAR TO ART / DEAR TO THY LAND AND OURS, A PRINCE INDEED" (see Steggles and Barnes 204). The female figures seated on either side, in flowing gowns and with flowers studding their wavy hair, are rather attractive allegorical representations of science and art. The figure of Albert himself, in his heavy ceremonial robes, is quite routine in comparison, even compared to Noble's statues of him elsewhere. The one in Manchester's Albert Memorial is perhaps his best, showing Albert standing staunchly with his right hand on his waist, and less weighted down by drapery. He looks more authoritative there, and, perhaps because of his elevation within an elaborate neo-Gothic canopy, rather more regal.
Photographs by Ramachandran Venkatesh, text and formatting 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, or cite the Victorian Web in a print document.
Steggles, Mary Ann, and Richard Barnes. British Sculpture in India: New Views and Old Memories. London: Frontier Publishing, 2011.
Created 9 June 2016