Saturday, January 18, 2014

Object of the Day, Museum Edition: A Lace Program from Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee, 1887

Program for Victoria's Golden Jubilee
English, 1887
The Victoria & Albert Museum
I’m always looking for these unusual pieces of history that were made with no intention of permanence. To me, these objects speak volumes about the moment they were made and give us a little window into a particular era.

Here we see a program from an 1887 Golden Jubilee soiree in honor of Queen Victoria’s fifty years on the throne. The program is of blue plate-printed silk satin edged with bobbin lace. The central cartouche of oak leaves depicts Queen Victoria as Queen of Great Britain and Empress of India. The design also includes six flags, a lion, tiger, kangaroo and beaver. The animals represent Africa, India, Australia and Canada. The back of the program shows depicts Windsor Castle. It is inscribed with “Wanstead Young Men's Association” and “Jubilee Soiree.”

The inside of two pages lists the entertainment for the evening in two parts with piano, violin and vocal turns and recitations to be performed by a number of individuals, both male and female. Prizes, apparently, were to be awarded for the best recitation.

The Wanstead Young Men's Association was just one of a number of local Victorian working class organizations with a strong interest in the performing arts. Such groups allowed young people to enjoy some artistic freedom and they were very much supported by the Queen.

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