This is one of the reliefs on the pedestal of Marochetti's equestrian statue of Queen Victoria in George Square, Glasgow. It shows Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and three of their children, being conducted into the crypt of Glasgow Cathedral by Rev. Duncan Macfarlan, the Principal of Glasgow College, during their visit to the city on 14 Aug. 1849. The memorial to John Knox in the nearby Necropolis is visible in the background.
The statue, or a version of it, was originally erected in St Vincent Place, Glasgow, where it was inaugurated on 6th Sept. 1854.
Proposals were made for some sort of a memorial, immediately after the Queen's visit to Glasgow on 14 Aug. 1849, but the first suggestion was to render in permanent material a triumphal arch at the north end of Glasgow Bridge. However, at a series of public meetings which followed, it was determined that an equestrian statue would be the most suitable form of commemoration. A committee was set up to facilitate this at a meeting chaired by the historian Archibald Alison, on 29 Aug. 1850. At this first meeting, twenty subscriptions of £100 and one of £200 were collected, and smaller sums followed, though this remained a private, rather than a publicly advertised subscription. A sub-committee was granted an interview with Prince Albert at Buckingham Palace, and it was unanimously agreed that Marochetti should be commissioned to create the statue. When it was completed, the clay model was inspected by the Lord Provost, Sir James Anderson, the former Lord Provost, Alexander Hastie, Earl Granville and Viscount Canning, who all gave it a glowing recommendation. Marochetti himself chose the site in Vincent Place, at the junction with Buchanan Street.
At the inauguration, Sir James Anderson stressed that, though this statue had been funded by private subscription, it had all along been intended that it should be "the property of the public". Marochetti was guest of honour at a banquet held later in the day, and proposed a toast in the words of the city's motto, "Let Glasgow Flourish". The critical response was very mixed. While the Glasgow Courier was unstinting in its praise, the Building Chronicle found fault with the statue on a number of counts. Not only was the whole statue too small, but the figure of the Queen was too small in relation to the horse. Comparing the statue to the earlier one of the Duke of Wellington, which Marochetti had executed for the city, the paper found the attempt to portray the horse in a walking movement, with two hooves off the ground, had been a failure. It is this observation, together with the wood engraving in the Illustrated London News, accompanying the report of the inauguration, which enables us to affirm that the statue now in George Square is a modified version of the one originally erected. The Building Chronicle evenspecified that "to support the left hind leg, as a prop for the group, the hoof rests upon a plant, which a jealous member of the Scottish Rights Association may discover to have a suspicious resemblance to a thistle".
Ray McKenzie has proposed, in his book Public Sculpture of Glasgow, that a modified version of the statue, in which the disproportion between the Queen and her horse, and the unstable walking position were modified, was substituted for the original by Marochetti himself in 1866, when it was required to have a statue of the Queen as a pendant to the newly created equestrian statue of Prince Albert for George Square. This supposition is backed up by a report in the Glasgow Herald of 5 April 1866. The report described the proceedings of a meeting of the Glasgow Magistrates Committee, which approved the design of a new pedestal for both statues. The committee simultaneously approved the expense of the new pedestal for the Queen's statue, including "the removal of the statue to London", and "making the necessary alterations". Not only the Illustrated London News engraving, but two casts of a statuette version of the group, one of which is in the National Gallery of Scotland, the other in the Girodet Museum at Montargis, in France,convey a better sense of the original design. than the statue at present in George Square.
The reliefs on the pedestal of the statue represent the Queen visiting the crypt of Glasgow cathedral, and the Queen conferring a knighthood on Sir James Anderson aboard the ship Fairy.
Plaster casts of Marochetti's equestrian Queen Victoria were shown at the Dublin Great Industrial Exhibition of 1853, and again at the Peace Fete in the Crystal Palace at Sydenham on 9 May 1856. A certain number of small bronze versions of the statue were produced, as stated above. One of these, cast in solid silver, was a feature in the Bayswater studio of the photographer Camille Silvy. Mentioned in his 1900 memoirs by Nadar (Félix Tournachon), placed in a chapel-like room in the studio, it evidently replaced a coloured marble statue of the Queen enthroned as The Queen of Peace, which had been there earlier. The object of this chapel was to provoke the Queen's curiosity and to persuade her to come to the studio to have her photograph taken by Silvy, but, despite the fact that Prince Albert and Princess Alice were photographed by Silvy, the Queen herself never came. .