A painting of Queen Victoria in the Royal Box at the Drury Lane Theatre is one of the highlights of the Fine Miniature Portraits sale taking place at Bonhams, Knightsbridge, on the 28th June.
Estimated to sell for £4,000 - £6,000, the miniature, on porcelain and by French artist Sophie Liénard, shows the Queen standing in front of her gilt-wood and red upholstered chair, monogrammed VR. She wears the blue sash of the Order of the Garter, a white dress trimmed with two tiers of white lace at the sleeve, white gloves decorated with black rosettes, diamond pendent earrings and a diamond tiara. An ermine stole and a theatre programme, held open by an ivory fan, sit on the Royal Box ledge.
The picture is based on a portrait by Edmund Thomas Parris, sketched on the Queen's first state visit to Drury Lane Theatre in November 1837. It proved an immensely popular image of the young Queen and was reproduced by a number of artists.
A frequent spectator of plays and performances, Queen Victoria did much to promote the theatre in England. During her reign, a number of new theatres were built, as well as several theatre schools. The Drury Lane Theatre became particularly famous for its elaborate and spectacular Christmas pantomimes.
Other highlights in the sale this Thursday include The Three Graces by Henry Bone - a triple portrait of the Ladies Rushout, famed eighteenth century society beauties, and a tender childhood portrait by French artist Mme Jeanne Doucet de Surigny - a far cry from the artist's later depiction of key revolutionary Jean Nicholas Billaud-Varenne.