Monday, 30 July 2007

The Belfast Weaver

The statue of Queen Victoria by Sir Thomas Brock in front of City Hall was unveiled by King Edward VII upon his first royal visit to Belfast on 27 July 1903, and according to a barely credible account in the Belfast News Letter, he looked back over his shoulder at his Mother as the carriage was receding after the ceremony, and exclaimed 'Couldn't be better!' The Victorian Web:

This bronze statue represents weaving, which was one of the chief industries in Belfast at the turn of the century. To see more click here: I would love to have met the woman who posed for this - she seems strong, self-assured and independent - a difficult thing for a woman to be in Victorian times (I believe).

The pediment in the background complements the Britannia commercial group of the earlier Customs House pediment, the subject of which is the patron goddess of Ireland, Hibernia, actively promoting the business and artistic activities of the City of Belfast; she is attended by theRoman goddess Minerva (suggestive of weaving specifically, but industry in general), and the symbolic figures of Labour, Industry, Liberty, and Commerce, who hold appropriate instruments: harps, torches, bolts of linen, spinning-wheels, etc. (see Brett, p. 55) Victorian Web