Sunday, October 14, 2012

Think evil of this.

Given the dearth of olden-day stuff in Sydney CBD, I'm a bit hesitant to rag on what little there is. That said, I think it would be uncontroversial to describe this statue of Queen Victoria as ugly-fugly:
For anyone interested in its history, I highly recommend taking gander at Public Art Around the World's page on it. It was there I learnt that the monument is a relative newcomer to our shores - we got the thing off Ireland in 1984. Here are some photos from before and during the move:

Though one can imagine that the Irish would be even less inclined than most to have any affection for the monument and its subject, they graciously turned down several offers from scrap merchants before gifting the bronze statue to the Antipodes. Fun fact: James Joyce nicknamed it the "Auld Bitch". Bless.

You might wonder from whence my interest in the Auld Bitch sprang. I'd like to say that I simply have an insatiable appetite for all things historical, that the world is my archive and so on. The truth, sadly, is that I'm just a big ol' perv. Suffice it to say, my first inquiry into the subject was the Google search "Queen Victoria statue Sydney george st nipple shield".
Astonishingly this did not yield many results. But seriously folks, isn't her pin (the Star of the Order of the Garter, I think) a little... on the nose? Here is another depiction of Victoria wearing the Star, this time with less fetish-chic:
Queen Victoria, 1843 (oil on canvas) William Fowler

Could it be that John Hughes, the sculpture's creator, was giving the Famine Queen, those dreadful Brits and, yes, The Man, a little thumb to nose action, an allegorical purple nurple, if you will? Probably not? Oh well, as long as we're here - 

Who wore it better, Queen Victoria or Rihanna?
Steven Klein, Vogue Italia Extreme Couture Supplement, September, 2009


Tristram said...

I agree!

We should it melt her down and turn her into a thousand spooooooonnnsss!

Tristram said...

Also I don't why my name was automatically made Tristram. I think it might be the memory of a long-abandoned blog. In the non-virtual-reality world they call me Henry.

Anusha Rutnam said...

All the better to spoon you with, eh? Eh?