Queen Victoria BustSculpture was everywhere during the Victorian reign. Towns and cities across Britain and the empire commissioned statues of their monarchs , such as the magnificent statue of Queen Victoria in Grand Avenue , Hove by Thomas Brock RA, installed in 1901 and paid for by public subscription.
From coinage to marble bust and grand statues, Queen Victoria's image became a familiar part of Victorian life, representing her as the figurehead of nation and empire. Most sculptors of the age attempted to capture the queen's likeness and her significance in sculpted portraiture. At the same time the invention of machines to make reduced copies allowed for the production of numerous small scale busts of Victoria in ivory, porcelain and bronze. Her image also circulated on cameos and medals as well as coins.
The icon is based on a small bust of Queen Victoria, from Brighton Museum's collections . The museum piece, which is inscribed on the base ‘R BELT. S 1897’ and ‘ORIGINAL IN POSSESSION OF THE QUEEN’.
R. Belt attracted a lot of publicity In 1882 when entered into a lawsuit with his old employer Lawes who he accused of libel. Lawes had claimed that Belt often put his name to works which had been created by other artists he employed. During the court case Belt had to sculpt on demand. The jury found in Belt’s favour and awarded him 5000 pounds, later increased to 10000 pounds when Lawes appealed! Both however were declared bankrupts after the case.