Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Study for a Portrait of Queen Victoria (1819-1901) 1841

Sir George Hayter (1792-1871)

Study for a Portrait of Queen Victoria (1819-1901), Sir George Hayter
Ink and wash on paper
19th Century
10 1/2 x 7 1/4 inches 26.6 x 18.4 cm
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This portrait study shows the particular qualities that by 1841, the year of this drawing resulted in his appointment as Principal Painter in Ordinary to Her Majesty, and in the following year with his knighthood.

Pose, costume and the judicious employment of historical paraphernalia make a claim to royal portraiture in the grand manner, and place Hayter's work in the context of that of predecessors going back to Van Dyck. The employment of wash and highlight in unsurpassed in the suggestion of the sheen of the lining of the Queen’s mantel and of the pile of the heavy blue velvet. It is unsurprising that Hayter painted the Queen’s two most important state occasions to date, her Coronation in 1837 and her marriage in 1840- the latter being directly commissioned by the Queen. The marriage, however, was to bring to an end his particular dominance of court portraiture, as the Prince Consort favoured the talents of Winterhalter, who was both more modern and indeed, like the Prince, a German.

No completed oil portrait by Hayter of the Queen full-length in Garter robes is known, and it may well be that this project suffered from the eclipse of the painter’s influence in Royal circles, and from a certain decline in the grandiose taste over the intimate and domestic.
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