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Figure of Queen Victoria

  • Object:

    Figure

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1977

  • Artist/Maker:

    Adams, Martin (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Galvanised wire armature on metal rod, modelled with DAX self-hardening modelling clay painted in acrylic paint base with gouache details. Yak and synthetic hair, mixed fabrics, beads, buttons and sequins, ribbon, lace and Copydex adhesive.

  • Museum number:

    S.622-2019

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This figure made by the property maker Martin Adams represents Queen Victoria (1819-1901) Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, and from 1876, Empress of India. She inherited the throne aged 18, and in 1840 married her cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Her 63-year reign was longer than her predecessors.

Queen Victoria was fond of the theatre, especially ballet, opera and circus, which she frequently visited. She did not go to the theatre after the death of Prince Albert in 1861 but invited command performances at her royal residences. She also bestowed a Knighthood to Henry Irving in 1895, the first British monarch to give that honor to an actor. It is in this connection that this figure was made to be part of Royal Box, the V&A exhibition about royalty and the theatre in 1977, the Silver Jubilee of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II to the throne. This figure was made to be displayed holding hands with the figure of Irving (S.621-2019).

Since making this figures, one of ten he made for the exhibition, Martin Adams went on to specialise in jewellery and jewellery-related props, making items including crowns, jewellery and sceptres for hundreds of films, television shows and theatrical productions.

Physical description

Figure of Queen Victoria mounted on a metal rod, wearing a black dress with a blue sash, the star of India brooch and a small gold coronet and white veil. She carries a walking cane in her left hand, and extends her right hand to hold hands with the figure of Henry Irving

Place of Origin

London (made)

Date

1977

Artist/maker

Adams, Martin (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Galvanised wire armature on metal rod, modelled with DAX self-hardening modelling clay painted in acrylic paint base with gouache details. Yak and synthetic hair, mixed fabrics, beads, buttons and sequins, ribbon, lace and Copydex adhesive.

Object history note

This figure is one of ten Victorian and Edwardian personalities made by the property maker Martin Adams for the exhibition Royal Box, held at the V&A from 3rd May until 2nd October 1977. They were commissioned by Alexander Schouvaloff, Head of the Theatre Collections at the Victoria & Albert Museum, for the exhibition designed by the set designer Bruno Santini. Each was made on a two inch to one foot scale, and was mouted on a metal rod for display purposes, the rods planted in blocks of polystyrene foam. The set comprised King Edward VII, The Mikado, Marie Taglioni, Niccoló Paginini, Lily Langtry, Vesta Tilley, Dan Leno, and Henry Irving and Queen Victoria, made to hold hands

Descriptive line

Figure of Queen Victoria (1819-1901) made for the exhibition Royal Box, V&A 1977. Mixed media, made by Martin Adams, 1977, after the portrait by Sir Luke Filldes, 1901

Categories

Entertainment & Leisure; Figures; Royalty

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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