Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert
This Carrara marble group by the English sculptor William Theed is a full-length portrait of Queen Victoria and Albert, the Prince Consort, wearing Anglo-Saxon dress. Prince Albert is shown standing, with his right arm raised, with his right index pointing upwards and wearing a belted tunic and a long cloak gathered on his right shoulder. The skirt of the tunic has an embroidered pattern around the border showing the initials ‘V’ and ‘A’. Queen Victoria is shown wearing a crown over a short veil and standing by Prince Albert’s left side, looking upwards towards him, with her right hand resting on his left shoulder and with her left hand held by his left hand. The clock arranged over her long dress has an embroidered border showing a lozenge pattern, with the national symbols of Britain alternating inside the lozenges, and with a sequence of crowns on the outside. The shells and sea-shore motifs carved on the oval base, and waves and sea-animals carved around the plinth are thought to represent that Prince Albert is standing at the bank of the shore of Eternity, after fighting the good fight of Faith with his sword, which he has dropped and is resting between his feet. The parting of the two lovers is emphasized by the forward position of Prince Albert's right leg and the expression of sorrow on the faces.
The hexagonal pedestal is made from an antique African marble from Rome and it bears the inscription ‘Allured to brighter worlds, and led the way’ from the poem ‘The Deserted Village’ by Oliver Goldsmith (1730-1774).
This marble group was commissioned after the death of the Prince Consort in December 1861 and according to Queen Victoria’s diary the idea came from her oldest daughter Victoria, the Princess Royal.
The group was moved to the Royal Mausoleum in 1938.