Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Painting of the Day: “Queen Victoria Riding Out,” Sir Francis Grant, 1838

Queen Victoria Riding Out
Sir Francis Grant, 1838-1839
Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
Images Courtesy of
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
During the 1830’s and 1840’s, a popular subject for paintings was a scene of a young, eligible heiress riding out on her horse, followed by potential suitors. When Queen Victoria inherited the crown from her uncle, King William IV, she was similarly depicted in this affectionate, tongue-in-cheek, painting by Sir Francis Grant.

The Queen was in on the joke and was quite amused by it, asking special and favored members of her court to pose as “suitors” for a position in the Royal favor. After the first sitting for the painting, she wrote in her journal of Lord Melbourne, “looking so funny, his white hat on, an umbrella, in lieu of a stick in one hand, & holding the reins, which were fastened to the steps, in the other . . . it is such a happiness for me to have that dear kind friend’s face, which I do like & admire so, so like . . . and Uxbridge, George Byng, & old Quintin ludicrously like.”

Also pictured are two of 
her favorite dogs, Dash and Islay, as well as her beloved horse, "Comus."

After her marriage to Prince Albert, this painting was reproduced with a figure of Prince Albert at the lead, giving this painting a whole new meaning, but one more in tune with the genre.

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