(n/a) German School, circa 1850 The four eldest daughters of Queen Victoria, wearing white dresses with lilac ribbons, maroon shawls and straw bonnets, holding posies of flowers, gathered in a woodland glade
Lot 136
(n/a) German School
circa 1850
The four eldest daughters of Queen Victoria, wearing white dresses with lilac ribbons, maroon shawls and straw bonnets, holding posies of flowers, gathered in a woodland glade
Sold for £780 (US$ 1,211) inc. premium

Lot Details
(n/a) German School, circa 1850
The four eldest daughters of Queen Victoria, wearing white dresses with lilac ribbons, maroon shawls and straw bonnets, holding posies of flowers, gathered in a woodland glade.
On porcelain, rectangular gilded wood frame with gilded slip, the reverse bearing handwritten inscription Presented to Miss Caroline Postet/ by H.M. Queen Victoria at/ Buckingham Palace/ Painted in Saxony after picture/ by Winterhalter on the/ advice of/ Prince Albert.
Oval, 57mm (2 1/4in) high

Footnotes

  • The present work is after Winterhalter's portrait of the four eldest daughters of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, completed in 1849 and housed in the Royal Collection ever since.

    Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-1873) was a German artist who trained in Munich and who, from an early age, made a name for himself as the preferred painter of the crowned heads of Europe. Although his work was criticised, even during his lifetime, for its perceived superficiality and meretriciousness, Winterhalter was in fact a highly skilled artist who was adept at transforming the plainest of sovereigns into icons of dignity, elegance and beauty.

    Winterhalter arrived at the English court in 1842 and straight-away became the favourite artist of the young Queen Victoria and her new husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. The royal family expanded rapidly throughout the next two decades and Victoria and Albert, together with their numerous children, sat repeatedly to Winterhalter, both for formal 'state' portraits and for more casual 'private' works. In the present instance, we see the four eldest daughters of the queen: Victoria, the Princess Royal (1840-1901), who subsequently became Empress Frederick of Germany (see lot 22 for biographical notes); Princess Alice (1843-1878), subsequently Grand Duchess Louis of Hesse-Darmstadt and mother of the ill-fated Empress Alexandra of Russia; Princess Helena (1846-1923), subsequently Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, the most homely of Victoria's daughters but also the one most active in charitable concerns; and Princess Louise (1848-1939), subsequently Marchioness of Lorne and Duchess of Argyll, who was noted for her beauty and considerable artistic talent but also for her brittle personality and sharp tongue. The pastoral setting of the original portrait from which this miniature is derived marks it out as quintessentially 'Winterhalter' and anticipates his most famous work, that of 'Empress Eugenie Surrounded by her Ladies-in-Waiting', which he completed in 1855.
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