Friday, July 15, 2011

Object of the Day, Museum Edition: A Fenton Plate for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee

Fenton, 1887
The Victoria & Albert Museum
This Fenton plate is not in my collection of Royal souvenirs, though I have seen an example of it at a Dallas antique shop recently. This particular plate is housed in the Victoria & Albert Museum. Made—among a huge array of other souvenir items—for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887, the plate shows portraits of the Queen and Prince of Wales (the Heir Apparent at the time, the future King Edward VII) amongst symbols of the Empire, its imports and exports and a map of the world showing the depth of the British Commonwealth.

After the death of her husband, Prince Albert, Queen Victoria shunned public life and preferred to stay at Windsor, Balmoral, Sandringham and Osborne House over living in Buckingham Palace. However, at the time of her 1887 Jubilee, she reemerged to the public to greet hundreds of thousands of well-wishers. After that and until her Diamond Jubilee, her public appearances were more frequent, but still limited.

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