Friday, November 12, 2010

Pets of the Belle Époque: “Victoria, Princess Royal, with Eos” by Sir Edwin Landseer, 1841

Victoria, Princess Royal, with Eos
August, 1841
Sir Edwin Landseer
Commissioned by Queen Victoria on the
event of Prince Albert's Birthday
The Royal Collection
On Wednesday, we examined a painting by Sir Edwin Landseer from 1841 which depicted Prince Albert’s favorite greyhound, Eos, in a very dignified pose. Here, we see another painting by Landseer from the same year. This time, Eos is peacefully curled up with Victoria, Princess Royal. Queen Victoria commissioned Landseer to paint this portrait of their eight-month old daughter with Prince Albert’s beloved Eos as a gift for the Prince’s birthday on August 26, 1841.  This tender scene shows the child to be alert and bright, her foot resting on the nose of the patient, loyal hound.

Also included in the painting is a barbary dove—perched on the arm of the green silk bergère chair upon which the infant princess rests. This dove was a symbol of childhood innocence, but also represented the vast assemblage of birds which Queen Victoria and Prince Albert houses in the Royal Aviary in the Home Park of Windsor.

By all accounts, Prince Albert was thrilled with the portrait which was displayed near the painting of Eos protecting his master’s belongings.

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