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Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-73)

Queen Victoria dated 1855

Pencil, watercolour and bodycolour | 38.3 x 26.7 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 913344

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  • A three-quarter length watercolour portrait of Queen Victoria, facing front, wearing a green dress with the ribbon and star of the Garter, and holding a paper. Signed and dated at bottom right.

    In June 1855 Queen Victoria recorded in her journal giving multiple sittings to Winterhalter for this watercolour portrait. At the same time, the artist also painted Prince Albert (RCIN 913345) and the couple's eldest child Victoria, Princess Royal (RCIN 913343). These three works were originally intended to be placed in one of the Queen's portrait albums, of which there were probably three in number and which contained portraits of her own family and many members of the European royal families to whom she was related - however, Winterhalter's works were too large to be mounted in the album, and so they were framed and hung at Windsor for many years.

    All three watercolours were also reproduced as lithographs by R.J. Lane. On 2 September 1855, Queen Victoria wrote to Lady Cowley, wife of the British Ambassador to France, 'Winterhalter did a sketch of us in watercolours this summer, which is being lithographed, and when it is ready it shall be sent to you' (National Archives, FO/319/303/i).

    Winterhalter was the premier portraitist in the mid-nineteenth century at many of the major European courts, working for those of London, Paris, Belgium, Berlin, Vienna, Madrid and St Petersburg, amongst others. He painted over 100 portraits for Queen Victoria and her extended family; the Queen esteemed him especially for his ability to capture a likeness, and the elegance, romance and naturalism of his works.

    Commissioned by Queen Victoria; Winterhalter was paid £30 for each of the three portraits on 22 June 1855

  • Medium and techniques

    Pencil, watercolour and bodycolour


    38.3 x 26.7 cm (sheet of paper)