The story of two statues of Queen Victoria - Nagpur

statue of Queen Victoria, Nagpur, MH.

Nagpur city Maharashtra is the only city in the world having two statues of Queen Victoria in standing posture one mirror image of the other, but made at different years. 

Nagpur, MH Central Museum (1863), India

In the garden area of popular Central Museum (Locally known as the Ajab Bangla), Nagpur city  there are  two marble statues of Queen Victoria,  one being the replica of the other. Both are damaged  and the exterior  appears to be not smooth and this could be due to prolonged exposure to vagaries of weather way back in the past.  The statues, before Indian independence were installed by the British at Vidhan Bhavan and at Victoria Technical Institute (the place where Maharajbagh Zoo is located today).  

Upon the death of Queen Victoria in 1901 in London, a Provincial Memorial Committee was formed under chairmanship of Chief Commissioner Sir  Andrew Henderson Leith Fraser and a large section of people in the Central Provinces having connection with the Raj decided to have a statue erected in this city in her memory.  Jabalpur city joined the band wagon and started fundraising separately to erect a statue there.A total of  Rs.216000  was raised.  A  special Trust formed for this purpose, had allocated Rs.75000 for  a Technical Institute to be named after queen Victoria to award bachelor's degree in sciences and the building came up on the Maharaj Bagh - garden. 

The trust set aside Rs. 16,000  for the marble statue. The sculptor was  Herbert Hampton of London West who also made  a similar statue of Victoria on order from Jabalpur city. Both statues arrived in Bombay in 1906 by ship.  The statue  erected on a foundation in this garden in front the Victoria Institute  in Nagpur was unveiled on 29th September 1906.   At Jabalpur the statue was unveiled on 2nd March 1905. 

Queen Victoria's statue, Lal Bagh palace,2020  Indore

Because of frustrations on the part of some misguided people, the Nagpur statue was desecrated in Nov. 1908 and subsequently the culprits were punished by the government. The tar patch on the defaced statue of Victoria was tough to be removed.  So, a  replica of the statue was made by the same sculptor Herbert Hampton on order and the money was collected through public subscription. This statue was shipped in 1912 and  installed in Maharaj Bag in the same place. 

The English statue busters after 1948, dislodged both tatues and put them  in the Ambazari lake. Surprisingly after a long gap of 38 years  in 1986, when the water level  came down  exposing the submerged statues,   Department of Archeology and Museums  took  custody of  them and  later installed them at Nagpur’s Central Museum where they still stand today. The museum is under  the Director of Department of Archaeology and Museums and Government of Maharashtra.

Two statues of Queen Victoria, Nagpur, India

Above image: Queen Victoria's  marble statues, Nagpur.   Apparently the sculptor selected marbles from  Carrara, Tuscany, Italy The statues are about 8 feet tall, showing Queen Victoria standing with her royal regalia, wearing Coronation robe, Garter Sash, with the Orb (made in 1661 for King Charles II) in left hand, the Scepter ( made in 1661 for King Charles II) in right hand and the Crown on head. Depicted as a middle aged lady the expression on her face is neither smiling nor stern; it is rather grave and confident but not haughty.

  Sculptor Herbert Hampton, native of   Hertfordshire, Kensington, was educated at  art schools of Cardiff and Lambeth and  then  attended Westminster and Slade Schools, London; He had advanced training  at Académies of Julian, Colarossi and Cormon academy, France. He was also very accomplished painter and sculptor..................................

Mary Ann. Statues of the Raj. Putney, London: BACSA [British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia], 2000.