Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of Queen Victoria (1819-1901) 

Franz Xavier Winterhalter, Studio of 1805 - 1873

Portrait of Queen Victoria (1819-1901), Franz Xavier Winterhalter, Studio of
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Oil on canvas
19th Century
Oval, 36 3/8 x 28 ¾ in (92.5 x 73 cm)
 
Provenance:
Private collection, Paris
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Few British sovereigns have captured the public imagination like Queen Victoria, whose sixty-three year rule oversaw the expansion and transformation of Britain into the most powerful Empire the world had ever seen.

This portrait was produced in the studio of Franz Xavier Winterhalter, and derives from the artist’s celebrated portrait of the sovereign painted in 1842 and remained in currency for two decades. The original portrait was commissioned by Victoria as a pendant to a portrait of her husband, Prince Albert, both of whom are portrayed three-quarter length and standing in a landscape. Winterhalter’s confidence and élan in colouring and texture have filtered through to this studio production, which also has the benefit of being in noticeably good condition with a richness of surface assisted by the absence of relining - something frequently encountered in paintings of this and earlier periods from which happily this has escaped. The skin tones are noticeably luminous and textured, together with the fabrics.

The success of this portrait-type is reflected in the number of copies that were commissioned following its completion, some of which, including those commissioned by Baroness Lehzen and Count Mensdorff-Pouilly, were, according to Victoria, ‘exceedingly good’. For the most part, the studio replicas show subtle differences when compared to the prime original. The most notable variation, seen clearly in this work, is the inclusion of the insignia of the Order of the Garter, represented by the rich blue sash around Victoria’s shoulder and the sparkling garter star worn just below. A small bunch of roses, which in the original work Victoria holds in her left hand, is also, for the most part, omitted from the copies.

Royal Collection Trust [RCIN 401413]
R. Ormond and C. Blackett-Ord, Franz Xavier Winterhalter and the Courts of Europe 1830-70, London, 1987, p.190, no.27
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