Tori Smith
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‘A grand work of noble conception’
The Victoria Memorial and imperial London
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In the closing years of the nineteenth century, it seemed to some observers that the built environment of London was inadequate to its role as an imperial city. As conceived and executed by its proponents and planners, the memorial is an important element in the history of London as an imperial city. In retrospect, it seems inevitable that Queen Victoria should have been memorialised after her death in 1901. While the significance of the Queen's death and the affection people felt for her all but ensured her formal commemoration, other concerns affected the ultimate shape of the London memorial. By including this figure of Motherhood in the London memorial Thomas Brock imported a sentimental, domestic scene into an imperial space. When the memorial committee chose, early in the process, to build an imperial memorial to Victoria, they also decided that the empire should bear some of its cost.

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Imperial cities

Landscape, display and identity


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