George V (1865-1936) – King of the United Kingdom and British Dominions, Emperor of India, monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (before 1917), monarch of the House of Windsor (after 1917)
…late 1890’s , … north of the English county of Norfolk, … a house in Sanringham. If you could look into the library you would see a man in his thirties wearing a hunting costume. He is completely absorbed sticking a stamp into the album. Who is that mysterious man: a passionate hunter, or a devoted stamp collector?
That is George Frederick Ernest Albert, Duke of York – a grandson of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Being a child, George did not show any talents or special abilities, so his farther decided that Royal Navy would be the best training for him. George started his fifteen year navy career at the age of twelve. He served in the Royal Navy, travelled the world and learned a lot about poor and middle-class people.
Perhaps “when he was Duke of York… he did nothing at all but shoot animals and stick in stamps” (as his official biographer wrote). Perhaps he did not possess some special intellect or a sophisticated taste?! Perhaps he had never enjoyed opera performances?! Perhaps?!
But he was a wise and devoted monarch.
In the time of great political and social turmoil, when labourist, democrat, socialist, communist and fascist movements flooded the political arena causing some European monarchies to perish, George V modified the British monarchy. The genius of his political intuition, his ability to analyze the situation objectively and to compromise allowed the British monarchy not only to survive in spite of the most unfavourable circumstances, but to prosper and grow stronger.
Created: January, 2010
Height: 30,5 cm
Material: wax, wire, fabric
Costume: two layers of clothing
© Text and visuals created by IRINA GORELKINA