Queen Victoria Statue Hong Kong 

Queen Victoria statue, Hong Kong, public art,

Public Art : Queen Victoria statue

Sculptor: © Mario Raggi (1821–1907)

Description: A bronze statue of a seated older figure of Queen Victoria. In her left hand she holds an orb and cross and in her right a sceptre. The original statue stood inside a decoratively carved Portland (Dorset, England) stone cupola and featured ornate Corinthian columns but it was looted by the Japanese in World War II. The statue's right hand was taken from an actual cast of Queen Victoria’s hand but it was missing (along with her crown) when recovered from Japan. If you look closely Queen Victoria's nose is crooked and there are random splotches of red paint over her head thanks to an act of vandalism in 1996.

Date Unveiled: The statue of Queen Victoria was officially unveiled at the centre of the square on 28th of May, 1896, the day officially appointed for the celebration of the 77th birthday of the Queen by the then governor Sir William Robinson. Sir Catchick Paul Chater also gave a speech.

Foundry: Messrs H. Young & Co, Pimlico, London. The same firm that cast the Sphinx's on the Thames.

Cost : £5,500

Funded By: Public subscription

Location: Queen Victoria  was originally erected in Hong Kong's Statue Square but was dismantled and shipped to Japan during World War II to be melted down as scrap metal. Somehow the statue survived and was returned to Hong Kong, restored and erected in 1955 at the Causeway Road main entrance of  Victoria Park, Hong Kong.

Information Plaque :

Statue of Queen Victoria

In 1887, the Hong Kong Government commissioned a statue of Queen Victoria to be cast in England to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Queen's accession to the throne. Upon its completion in 1890, the statue was exhibited in London before being sent to Hong Kong. In 1896, the statue was erected on newly reclaimed land in the Central (the site is now Statue Square) with the unveiling ceremony held on 28 May of the same year. The statue was shipped out of Hong Kong during the Japanese occupation from 1941 to 1945 and was returned after the end of the war. Following the completion of restoration wroks in 1952 the statue was relocated to Victoria Park in 1955.

Things You May Not Know about The Hong Kong Queen Victoria Statue:

The Hong Kong statue of Queen Victoria was ordered to commemorate the 1887 Golden Jubilee of the British monarch. It was suppose to be made in marble but an error was made and wasn't noticed until the bronze statue was nearly completed.

The statue was actually completed in 1890 but it had to stay in storage until the reclaiming of land at Statue Park was completed in 1896.

In 1891, shortly after its completion, it was exhibited in Horse Guards in London.

The statue's right hand was taken from an actual cast of Queen Victoria’s hand.

The Statue was removed during World War II and sent to Japan to be melted for scrap metal but miraculously survived (despite pieces missing) and was later returned to Hong Kong at the same time as the Hongkong & Shanghai Bank lions following the end of the war . Restoration of the damaged statue was completed by Raoul Bigazzi in 1952.

In September 1946 the Queen Victoria statue was discovered in Kobe amongst the Osaka Army's arsenal by the Allied occupation authority. Her crown and right arm were missing. The Japanese turned over the statue to the Allied Headquarter's Civil Property Custodians after it was demanded to be returned following complaints by Hong Kong authorities. Also recovered were the two bullet damaged lion sculptures believed to be those that originally guarded the Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank building and a statue of a bronze man in a "frock coat" which turned out to be the statue of Sir Thomas Jackson. (Taken from news articles printed in China Mail September 17th, 1946 and Hong Kong Telegraph 12th March, 1947).

A replica of Raggi's statue can be found in Torronto, Canada.

In 1996, 9 months before the British handover of Hong Kong to China, an angry artist from mainland China, named Pan Xinglei , climbed atop the statue carrying a hammer and two buckets of red paint. He proceeded to bash in Queen Victoria's nose and then cover her and himself in red paint.  Pan claimed his vandalism wasn't politically motivated but he was simply  "tired of the low taste and boring art in Hong Kong," and wanted to "give citizens a taste of something new." Despite calls to scrap the statue (mainly from expats) it was restored by Hong Kong's Urban Services Department's Conservation section. She still has a crooked nose though.

Mystery: Somewhere in Hong Kong in a wealthy resident's house sits a small marble replica of this statue made by the sculptor Raggi. It was a little peace offering after the "bronze" misunderstanding. No one , except a select few know where the marble sculpture resides or whether it still exists as it was only ever been photographed once.

Background To Statue Square : Sir Catchick Paul Chater was the brain child behind the waterfront Praya reclamation of Hong kong in 1899. In fact, if it wasn't for his idea of reclaiming the land, Central Hong Kong would not have the impressive highrise cityscape it has today. Part of the reclamation was to include a City Square dedicated to the British Empire. After the Queen Victoria statue was erected, Chater was inspired to erect more statues of reigning and future reigning sovereigns, hence the area became known as Statue Square. Chater once said of Hong kong "....I have never been in a place that I have loved more than Hong Kong, and in fact , the longer I stay here the more I like it ..."
Many of the statues that resided in Statue Square have long gone, but one of the orginals still remains, that of Sir Thomas Jackson.

 

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