Thomas and Jane Holloway, about 1883
Count Gleichen (Prince Victor of Hohenlohe-Langenburg) (1833 – 1891)
This statue depicts the founder of Royal Holloway, Thomas Holloway, and his wife Jane. It was commissioned for the College in 1883 along with the statue of Queen Victoria (which can be seen in the North Quad.)
Holloway was a manufacturer of patent medicines who became world-famous for his brand of ointment and pills. He began manufacturing his medicines in 1837. Despite early setbacks, including bankruptcy, the business became a global brand. Britain's expanding empire meant Holloway could transport his product around the world. His success was largely due to his recognition of the potential of marketing. His advertisements reached the furthest corners of the globe, appearing at Niagara Falls and the Pyramids. One newspaper article which appeared in the New York Sunday Times claimed, “Nearly, if not quite, one-half of the human race have taken his medicines!”
He claimed the products could cure anything from stomach problems to paralysis. The recipe was a closely-guarded secret, but his products were seen as a symbol of a new scientific age. We now know that their composition was mainly herbal - more beneficial than many other medicines of the period, but incapable of producing the miracle effects Holloway claimed.
Holloway was also a passionate philanthropist, and founded a sanatorium at Virginia Water before deciding to build a women’s college. His decision to build the College is said to have been influenced by Jane, who is shown in the statue listening as her husband explains his plans for the College.