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Object of the Day: A Souvenir of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, 1887

Saturday, May 7, 2011

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In 1887, all of Britain celebrated the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria and honored her fifty years on the throne with a procession that as Mark Twain described it, “stretched to the limit of sight in both directions," a lavish banquet and a service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey.


English merchants produced a variety of souvenirs marking the occasion. Images of the queen, sculptures, china and glass items were available for the public to have a lasting reminder of the historic event. Among them, pressed glass items such as this dome were produced. Long separated from its mate, it’s certainly the lid to some kind of vessel—either a candy dish or a biscuit jar. The dome is all that remains of the original object. But, after nearly a century and a quarter, it’s amazing that this even remains at all.

It reads, “The Queen’s Jubilee, 1837-1887,” with the initials of “V.R.” and decorative Maltese crosses. A similar cross forms a handle at the top.

Recently found at a North Texas antique store, looking quite lonely, it came home with me. While it’s bottom half is no longer with us, it now sits atop a crystal compote and catches the colored light from the hallway window quite beautifully. When I walk by it, I am reminded of Queen Victoria, and, so, after all these years, it once again serves its purpose.


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