Queen Victoria

LL 3598


The 22-year-old Queen is dressed in robes of state, and, as the finely carved Royal Coat of Arms on the frame emphasises, the work was an official commission. It was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1840. Despite Wilkie's high reputation and the fact that he had been Principal Painter to both George IV and William IV, the Queen detested the portrait, taking her lead from the opinion of her mentor, Lord Melbourne, who wrote that Wilkie "never could paint portraits and never will". She switched her allegiance to the more informal Landseer and Winterhalter and gave away this portrait. Much later in her reign, she intervened to prevent it being presented to the National Portrait Gallery.