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Notes on the Geography of Peninsular India: Mumbai / Bombay: Victorian Vanities

India pushes Victorian statues into quiet corners and lets them slowly disintegrate.

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Peninsular India: Mumbai / Bombay: Victorian Vanities picture 1

The training of a queen must be so thorough that she takes no notice of slights. And could this be the white-marble statue, by Noble, that for many years sat where Patil(Mayo)Street diverges from Mahatma Gandhi (Esplanade)? If so, it was unveiled in 1872 and paid for by the Gaekwar of Baroda. It's presently stashed in a yard adjoining Mumbai's Victoria and Albert Museum.

Peninsular India: Mumbai / Bombay: Victorian Vanities picture 2

The same statue--20 years (2002) later.

Peninsular India: Mumbai / Bombay: Victorian Vanities picture 3

Probably Sir Richard Temple, a paragon of imperial ambition and arrogance. Formerly near the Public Works Department, he now sweats alongside Victoria in the V&A garden.

Peninsular India: Mumbai / Bombay: Victorian Vanities picture 4

Victorian testosterone: Sir Bartle Frere, the governor of Bombay during its first great boom, which was prompted by the American civil war and its disruption of British cotton supplies. Odd, that men who dressed to the gunwales should be sculpted bare chested, but never underestimate the impact of a classical education.  Protected from the elements, he sits in the Bombay University Library.

Peninsular India: Mumbai / Bombay: Victorian Vanities picture 5

Governors, senators, deans: they come, they go. (Could this be Governor Reay?)

Peninsular India: Mumbai / Bombay: Victorian Vanities picture 6

Inside the Victoria and Albert Museum: Albert himself, by Noble.

Peninsular India: Mumbai / Bombay: Victorian Vanities picture 7

Proconsul in toga, bathed in fluorescent light. This happens to be Mountstuart Elphinstone, by Chantrey, in the reading room of the old Town Hall, now the library of the Asiatic Society.


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