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‘The Uncle of Europe’  - An Austro Hungarian Bust of King Edward VII, 1908
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‘The Uncle of Europe’ - An Austro Hungarian Bust of King Edward VII, 1908

Measurements: Overall height: 42cm (16.5in)

£2800

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Bronze. Signed and dated ‘J. Muhr / 1908’, and bearing foundry mark 'Jnha. Jos. Selzer/ Kunstergiesserei/ Th. Th. Srpek/ Wien X.’ to the reverse, raised on an stone plinth.
 
Edward VII (1841-1910) is shown in Austro-Hungarian Field Marshal's uniform, wearing the star and sash of the Austro-Hungarian Order of St. Stephen, the stars of the Orders of the Garter and the Bath, the Royal Victorian Chain and the neck badge of the Order of the Golden Fleece. He further wears the badge of the Royal Victorian Order, Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee Medal (1887) with Diamond Jubilee clasp (1897), the Emperor Franz Joseph's Golden Jubilee medal (1898), The Marian Cross and the badge of the Danish Order of Dannebrog.

The present bust by Josef Muhr (1873-1912) marks the King’s visit to Austro-Hungary in 1908. In 1904 during an official visit to London, Archduke Frederick of Austria (later supreme commander of the Austro-Hungarian Armies) had surprised Edward VII by suddenly handing him ‘without any kind of ceremony’ the baton of a Field Marshal thus confirming a new rank in the Austro-Hungarian army. Despite this honour and notwithstanding, Austria-Hungary’s defeat by Prussia in the Seven Weeks War of 1866, there remained ambiguity in where the Emperor’s loyalties lay. In 1908 Edward was anxious to establish Emperor Franz Joseph's position in regard to Austria-Hungary’s support tor Germany. The Emperor made himself explicitly clear during a meeting in August, when Edward tried to persuade him to abandon Austria-Hungary's alliance with Germany for co-operation with England. Disappointingly Franz Joseph replied that he was a ‘loyal ally’ and ‘a German prince.’

 

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