I visited Ballarat last weekend and saw for the first time this beautiful statue of Queen Victoria. Ballarat was the site of the 1851 Victorian Gold Rush and the town, if you squint and look up slightly (so as to avoid the cars) looks much as it would have in the late 1880′s.
The detail on Her Majesty’s dress could be Wattle Blossom – but the leaves aren’t right. I wonder if anyone knows what plant this is? I wonder if the plant is symbolic of something?
I’ve looked at images of the Orb that Victoria is holding in her left hand and they all have a cross on top rather than an angel.
The Victoria Memorial in London is surmounted by the angel Victory. This statue was commissioned in 1900 the year before Victoria’s death so I wonder if this little bronze angel was added later as a reference to a bigger sister in London. Looking closely at this little angel I could see that she / he is holding a trumpet so perhaps it is Gabriel and his horn calling Victoria to the last judgement.
The Orb itself is meant to be a symbol of a world ruled by Christianity. The cross that usually sits on top of the Orb symbolises the office of the Queen as the Defender of the Faith. So Gabriel calling the world to judgement upon the sovereign’s death might be the story that the artist is telling.
Ballarat is well worth a visit if you feel the need to immerse yourself in some genuinely gorgeous Victoriana.