Thursday, May 23, 2013

Painting of the Day: Study of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in Costumes of the Time of Charles II, 1851

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in Fancy Dress
Franz Zaver Winterhalter, 1851
Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection 
Image Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

From the Royal Collection, this 1853 oil sketch by Queen Victoria’s preferred portraitist Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-73) depicts Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in fancy dress. Their Majesties attended a costume ball with the theme of “The Time of Charles II.”

Prince Albert insisted that his costume be made entirely of British materials to show his support of textile trade. The Queen’s costume was designed by the celebrated French artist Eugène Lami. In her journal, after the ball, on July 13, 1851, Queen Victoria wrote:

... My costume was of grey moiré antique, ornamented with gold lace, - a very long waist & sleeves trimmed with old lace. The petticoat showing under the dress which was all open in front, was of rich gold and silver brocade (Indian manufacture) richly trimmed with silver lace... In my hair I wore an arrangement of pearls. The shoes and gloves were embroidered to match the dress.

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