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Title: Queen Victoria's children and sculpture (c.1860-1900) : collectors, makers, patrons
Author: Chair, Désirée de
ISNI:       0000 0004 5357 610X
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis examines the roles of Queen Victoria’s children as collectors, makers and patrons of sculpture from around 1860 to 1900. To date, the royal children’s engagement with sculpture has received hardly any scholarly attention. The conventional narrative is that after Prince Albert’s death in 1861 royal patronage stagnated and lost its previous significance in the art world. However, based on major archival research and object-focused analysis, this thesis demonstrates that the royal children represented a new and distinct group of royal patrons whose artistic engagement was at the heart of Victorian sculpture. By focusing on the careers of three of Victoria and Albert’s nine children as case studies, it becomes clear that royal patronage of sculpture was highly diverse and complex. The first chapter assesses the role of Bertie, the Prince of Wales, as a collector of sculpture and highlights the ambiguousness of his encounters with the medium. The prince was a well-informed and zealous collector of sculpture; but he considered the medium to be principally for decorative purposes and personal enjoyment. The second chapter looks at Princess Louise as a maker of sculpture who had to negotiate her status as a princess and female amateur with her ambition to work like a professional sculptor in the public sphere. The third chapter focuses on Vicky, the Princess Royal and later German Empress, as a patron of sculpture in an Anglo-German context. As eldest and favourite daughter of Prince Albert, Vicky tried to continue her father’s artistic legacy by engaging with sculpture in multifarious ways and realising his vision of an exemplary patron. Yet, her fraught political position as a British liberal at the imperial court in Germany complicated her efficacy in the sphere of contemporary sculpture and resulted in her focus on the Renaissance. This thesis contributes to a revaluation of royal patronage in Victorian sculpture studies and also indicates the relevance of Queen Victoria’s children to scholarly discourses including Aestheticism, female sculptors and Anglo-German artistic relations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: NB Sculpture