Treasures of the Library

Statue of Queen Victoria

Standing tall and regal, the statue of a young Queen Victoria is the centrepiece of the Main Library. The iconic white marble statue creates a stunning contrast to the warm tones of the wood panelling on the walls. Formidable and imposing, yet graceful and delicate, it commands your attention when you enter.

British artist Marshall Wood sculpted the larger-than-life 2.33-m and 1,550-kg statue, which is dated 1871. Until the Library was completed in 1876–1877, the statue was placed in the Senate Chamber facing the Throne.

While Queen Victoria was in her early fifties at the time, Marshall Wood chose to portray her at a much younger age. In this idealized depiction, the Queen is dressed in Roman attire. She is wearing the Regal Circlet, a crown of alternating fleur-de-lis and crosses made for her in 1858. In her right hand she is holding a sceptre (a symbol of royal power) and in her left hand a laurel wreath (a symbol of victory).

Marshall Wood’s design proved popular. Similar statues of the Queen made of marble or cast in bronze were sold in places such as Montréal, Melbourne and Kolkata (formerly Calcutta).

The statue underwent restoration and seismic stabilization between 2002 and 2005. The initial examination revealed that the statue had once been stained black by soot and that certain parts of the statue had once been gilded. After the statue was cleaned and restored, a metal rod was carefully drilled into the statue and its lower stone bases. The rod connected the sculpture’s parts together and secured it to the Library floor.

While the Main Library is closed during the Centre Block rehabilitation project, the statue of Queen Victoria will be protected in place and monitored, waiting to resume its prominence over the room.

Details

  • When the statue was first installed in the Senate Chamber, it fell over and the right arm was broken, but the statue was successfully repaired.
  • Although the statue itself measures 2.33 m, it sits atop several marble plinths and a granite base so that it towers over the surrounding desks.
  • The base is made of a polished red granite from Gananoque, Ontario, purchased from a Mr. R. Forsyth in 1876.
Statue of Queen Victoria and the dome of the Library
Statue of Queen Victoria and the dome of the Library
Statue of Queen Victoria, front view
Statue of Queen Victoria, front view
Statue of Queen Victoria, back view
Statue of Queen Victoria, back view