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Zoomable Image of Portrait of Prince Albert (1819-1861) wearing riding outfit, set in a landscape

Portrait of Prince Albert (1819-1861) wearing riding outfit, set in a landscape

William Drummond (active 1800-50)

Portrait of Prince Albert (1819-1861) wearing riding outfit, set in a landscape

William Drummond (active 1800-50)

Purchase Enquiries

Phone +44(0)20 7499 6818

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Price:

£6,500

Materials:

Watercolour on paper

Dimensions:

15 11/16 x 12 6/8 in (39.9 x 32.4 cm)

Provenance:

Private Collection, UK

It is possible that this painting was produced at the time of Albert’s engagement to the future Queen Victoria...

This watercolour of Prince Albert, dressed in a riding outfit, is relatively informal when compared to a portrait by the same artist of Queen Victoria in her wedding dress. It is thought that the present portrait was conceived by Drummond at about the time of his marriage to Queen Victoria which took place on 10th February 1840, at Windsor.

Albert is portrayed without a garter star, which he received on 6th December 1839, and it is possible that the picture was produced at the time of Albert’s engagement to the future Queen Victoria. Victoria asked him to marry her, as protocol dictated, on 15th October. The announcement of Victoria’s engagement took some observers by surprise. At the start of her reign she had signalled her desire to remain unmarried. However, Prince Albert had been ruthlessly promoted as Victoria’s future consort by Leopold, King of the Belgians, Albert’s Uncle, who was keen to secure English support for his fledgling kingdom. Victoria’s first meeting with Albert, in 1836, had left her unimpressed, but on his second visit in 1839 she immediately fell in love. Her diary reveals her feelings towards him: ‘Oh! how I adore and love him, I cannot say!! How I will strive to make him feel as little as possible the great sacrifice he has made; I told him it was a great sacrifice,—which he wouldn’t allow’.

The match was not immediately popular. The press questioned his Protestantism (as other Coburgs had married Catholics in furthering their ambitions), his German background (in a street ballad he was ‘Prince Hallbert’), and his mercenary motives (in another broadside he was after ‘England's fat queen and England’s fatter purse’). But though frustrated by the establishment’s reluctance to accept him, Albert understood the sensitivity of his position, and confided to his stepmother that ‘life has its thorns in every position, and the consciousness of having used one's powers and endeavours for an object so great as that of promoting the welfare of so many will surely be sufficient to support me’. He soon established himself as the Queen’s confidant and a leading patron of the arts and sciences, quite apart from being the father of nine children. His death in 1861 prompted the greatest public display of mourning then seen in England.

William Drummond was a portraitist active in the early nineteenth century and a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy. He is thought to be the same William Drummond of Brighton who died on 27th March at his home in Buckingham Place.[1] Drummond collaborated with Charles J. Basebe, who also painted Prince Albert, between 1843 and 1849 on a picture entitled ‘A Cricket Match between the Counties of Sussex and Kent, at Brighton’ which was sold by Phillips, London in 1978 and engraved by George Henry Phillips in 1849.[2]



[1] Manchester Times (Manchester, England), Wednesday, April 4, 1855; Issue 670. British Library Newspapers, Part I: 1800-1900.

[2] Phillips, London, 18th September 1978, lot 143; Engraving owned by Government Art Collection, GAC No. 7112.

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