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Prince Albert, Prince Consort in Highland Dress, 1863
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Prince Albert, Prince Consort in Highland Dress, 1863

Measurements: Height: 49.5cm (19.5in)



Provenance: Prince Adolphus of Teck, later 1st Marquess of Cambridge (1868-1927)
George, 2nd Marquess of Cambridge (1917-1981)
Private collection, London

Bronze. The Prince Consort (1819-1861) portrayed in a Great Kilt and wearing the sash and star of the Order of the Thistle; the Garter displayed prominently at his left knee; his right hand resting on the head of ‘Bran’, a favourite Scottish deerhound gifted to him by John Campbell, 2nd Marquess of Breadalbane; the prince’s left hand clasping the barrels of a double rifle. The whole set upon an integral naturalistic base modelled with ferns and the prince’s highland bonnet with eagle feather plume. Signed and dated ‘W. Theed. Sc. 1863’.

The present model derives from a life sized marble memorial sculpture of Prince Albert in the principal corridor at Balmoral Castle that was unveiled to Queen Victoria and senior members of the Royal Family in October 1863. In life, Victoria had been especially fond of Albert in Highland dress and, in death, chose to memorialise him in the heart of their Scottish home in the Royal Stewart tartan and the sash of the Order of the Thistle, that, according to Victoria's lady-in-waiting, Eleanor Stanley, he wore every night when at Balmoral.

Albert’s death in 1861 initiated Victoria’s extended withdrawal from public life and resulted in the commission of several memorial works from Theed who hitherto had enjoyed a long working relationship with Prince Albert on national projects. The memorial works included a marble bust of Albert in classical toga clasped at his left shoulder with a profile cameo of Queen Victoria (1862); the highland dress statue (1863) and an extraordinary double portrait (1868) of Victoria and Albert in Anglo-Saxon dress to symbolise the ties between the German and English peoples from Anglo-Saxon times to the marriage of the Royal couple in 1840.

Not content with Albert’s permanent presence in the principal corridor, Victoria ordered an over life sized version for the grounds at Balmoral, and gifted in 1865 a similar sized statue in bronze to her friend and confidante Harriet, Duchess of Sutherland, who had been Mistress of the Robes at the 1837 coronation, and likewise had been widowed in 1861. The latter statue stands today in Ilex Grove on the Cliveden estate, Buckinghamshire where Victoria and Albert were entertained by the Sutherlands in the 1840s. A reduced scale bronze version (Royal Collection Inventory Number 41056), cast at the Elkington foundry and identical in every way to the present example, can be found today in the Grand Corridor of Queen Victoria’s summer residence, Osborne House on the Isle of Wight.

William Theed the younger (1804-1891) was a favourite sculptor of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Born in Staffordshire, he trained under his artist father William Theed the elder, and worked for several years in the studio of Ernest Hodges Baily, R.A., F.R.S., who created the statue of Nelson in Trafalgar Square. Theed the younger was admitted to the Royal Academy Schools in 1820 and in 1826 went to Rome where he continued his studies under the Bertel Thorvaldsen and John Gibson R.A. In the mid 1840s, after nearly 20 years in Rome, he received a royal commission from Prince Albert who asked Gibson (now a close friend of his former pupil Theed) to send designs for statues to be placed in Osborne House. Two classical designs by Theed were accepted and found particular favour with the young Queen Victoria.

After returning to London in 1848 Theed established a flourishing practice aided by the patronage of Prince Albert whose contributions to the design of sculptural works for Buckingham Palace, and later the Prince's chamber in the Palace of Westminster, Theed seems to have genuinely appreciated. Another major aspect of Theed's career was his public art which included commissions for statues of Sir Isaac Newton at Grantham; Edmund Burke in St. Stephen's Hall, Westminster; Queen Victoria’s mother, the Duchess of Kent, at Frogmore; the prime ministers, the Earl of Derby at Liverpool; Sir Robert Peel at Huddersfield and William Ewart Gladstone at Manchester, and of course, the statues of the Prince Consort in Garter robes at Coburg, and the Africa group at the Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens.


Carleton, J.W. (ed) (1842) ‘The Sporting Review’, J.Mitchell, Old Bond Street, London.
Greenwood, M., ‘Theed, William, the younger (1804–1891)’ ODNB. Oxford University Press.
Remington, V. ‘Art & Love Victoria Albert Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their relations with artists’. Essays from a study day held at the National Gallery, London. 5 / 6 June 2010.
Stanley,  E., (1916) ‘Twenty Years at Court from the Correspondence of The Hon. Eleanor Stanley’, Scribner, New York.