Queen Victoria, 1819-1901

A three-quarter-length portrait of Queen Victoria, standing to left. She wears a white evening dress cut low to reveal her shoulders and the insignia of the Garter, with the Garter itself round her left arm. She has a white lace shawl, her arms are folded and she holds two red roses in her left hand. She wears a large brooch, similar to one given to her by Prince Albert as a wedding present. She is also shown wearing a locket around her neck containing the Prince's hair, given to her by the Queen of the Belgians. In her chignon she wears a small jewelled coronet, which was probably designed by Prince Albert. She stands against a grey background with sky, clouds, mountains and trees.

The portrait is a copy of an early work (1842) that Queen Victoria commissioned from Winterhalter, with a pendant of Prince Albert, who wore a Field-Marshall's undress uniform with the star of the Garter and the badge of the Golden Fleece. The landscape setting in both portraits was complementary and they may have been intended to demonstrate the depth of their feelings for each other. Winterhalter was also paid to produce several copies with Queen Victoria additionally wearing the insignia of the Garter. Other replicas were also made such as this example, which also has the ribbon and star of the Garter. Whether it once had a copy pendant of Albert is not certain, as some other known copies did not. This one was purchased for the Museum by Sir James Caird in 1935 at the sale of Syston Court.

The German-born artist was primarily a fashionable portrait painter. He and his younger brother, Hermann, both trained as artists and Franz Xaver was patronized by royal and aristocratic families in many parts of Europe. In 1834 he moved to Paris, which became his principal home and where he was joined Hermann. The Queen of the Belgians introduced him to Queen Victoria and he visited her in England in May 1842. This established a routine which lasted until 1864, following the death of Prince Albert. Queen Victoria liked him and admired his work so much that he visited England in late spring and worked on commissions for her each summer.

Object Details

ID: BHC3071
Collection: Fine art
Type: Painting
Display location: Display - QH
Creator: Winterhalter, Hermann; Winterhalter, after Franz Xaver
Date made: After 1842
People: Queen Victoria
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection
Measurements: Frame: 1851 mm x 1549 mm x 155 mm;Overall: 67.6 kg;Painting: 1420 x 1170 mm

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