This bust was presented by the Queen in 1856 to the Prefect of the Seine, to be placed in the Hôtel de Ville in Paris, to commemorate her visit to the city the previous year, to attend the International Exhibition. It is a version of the one which Marochetti worked on between 1852 and 1854, and of which other versions exist in Buckingham Palace and at Haddo House in Aberdeenshire. The Paris bust accompanied one of Prince Albert by Marochetti, in which the Prince is shown wearing full dress uniform.
In a letter of 27 December 1856 (The National Archives, FO 519/238), Colonel Phipps,
Keeper of the Queen's Privy Purse, wrote to Lord Cowley, the British
Ambassador in Paris, to tell him that the Queen has commanded him to
forward the bust of Prince Albert and herself to him, "and to request
that you will be good enough to take the necessary steps for their
presentation to the Prefect of the Seine". He went on, "Baron
Marochetti, who has executed them, goes to Paris today, and would be
very happy., should it be desired, to superintend their unpacking, and
being placed in their destined situations."
The busts of the Queen and Prince Albert, later joined by a bust of
Victor Emmanuel, also by Marochetti, were placed in the "première des
salles des délibérations" in the Hôtel de Ville, where they formed part
of a series of busts of sovereigns and princes of royal families who
had paid visits to the building. These busts might have shared the fate
of the building, destroyed during the shelling of Paris from Versailles
in 1871. They had however been removed to a storage place for works of
art by the authorities of the Commune, and so were saved from
destruction. Today both the bust of Prince Albert and that of Victor
Emmanuel are stored in the Dépôt des Oeuvres d'Art de la Ville de Paris,
at Ivry-sur-Seine. The bust of Queen Victoria is kept in the office of
the secretary of the Commission du Vieux Paris.
(for a fuller entry on this bust, see the version of it in the Royal Collection)