Royal Windsor Tapestry Co., 1877
The Victoria & Albert Museum
Some art historians believe that this portrait of Queen Victoria is the first tapestry which was ever woven at the Royal Windsor Tapestry Company. The portrait is based on a painting by the Austrian artist Baron Heinrich von Angeli (1840-1925). The original painting was completed at Windsor Castle in 1875.
The Royal Windsor Tapestry Company was very closely associated with the Royal family, so its only fitting that its inaugural work would depict Queen Victoria who was their patron. The connection, in fact was so close that the Queen’s children were appointed Presidents and Vice Presidents of the concern. The Queen made several visits to the tapestry company and notably recorded in her diaries her pleasure with the business.
The cartoon from which this tapestry was created was drawn in 1876 by Phoebus Levin, a German painter who was recorded as working in London between 1855 and 1878. According to the V&A, “the tapestry bears the names of Michel Brignolas, who became the first Manager, and of Henri C. M. Henry, Art Director of Gillows, the Oxford Street decorators who founded the Royal Windsor Tapestry Company.”