VIEW-3631 | Victoria Statue, Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal, QC, about 1900

 
Photograph
Victoria Statue, Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal, QC, about 1900
Wm. Notman & Son
About 1900, 19th century or 20th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
25 x 20 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
VIEW-3631
© McCord Museum
Description
Keywords:  Art (2774) , Photograph (77678)
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Keys to History

As cities industrialized and urban populations grew, poverty became a pressing problem. Markets were very unstable and economic depressions common. The spread of the wage economy made large parts of the population dependent on wages and susceptible to these market fluctuations. Despite this economic reality, philanthropists and the elite in general were influenced by liberal economic theory, which regarded work as central to social relations and viewed the unemployed with suspicion. Although the elite recognised charity as a Christian duty, they also increasingly believed that poverty was an individual responsibility, the result of moral weakness. This belief, combined with the fear that easily available relief would produce dependency, led philanthropists to distinguish between the poor they thought deserved charity and those they called the "undeserving." This moralist approach to poverty and other social problems continued right into the 20th century and is part of what historians call "the Victorian world-view."

  • What

    The white marble statue depicts Victoria as a young woman consoling several children. This symbolism is important, since when it was unveiled in 1897 she was already seventy-eight.

  • Where

    The statue stands in the lobby of the Women's Pavilion of the Royal Victoria Hospital, on the corner of University Street and Pine Avenue in Montreal.

  • When

    An excellent example of philanthropy, the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) was paid for by Donald Smith (1820-1914) and his cousin George Stevens (1829-1921) and opened in 1893.

  • Who

    This imposing statue is of Victoria I, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland. Victoria was born in 1819 and reigned from 1837 to 1901. The statue was unveiled in conjunction with her jubilee celebrations in 1897.