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A Pair of Large Signed Royal Presentation Portraits of Queen Victoria & Prince Albert, 1860

Provenance: Sir John Francis Davis, Bart., K.C.B., Governor of Hong Kong.

Lithographs with white heightening. Head and shoulders portraits of Queen Victoria (1819-1901) and Prince Albert, Prince Consort (1819-1861) after the full-length portraits painted in 1859  by Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-1875) in the Royal Collection. Queen Victoria (reigned 1837-1901) is dressed in Robes of State and Albert in uniform, the former signed ‘Victoria’ in ink in the Queen’s hand, the latter signed ‘Albert’ in ink in the Prince Consort’s hand. Each contained in gilt glazed frames. 

The present lithographs were two of five exhibited at the Royal Academy by artist and printmaker John Alfred Vinter in 1860, all of which were engraved for Queen Victoria after works by Winterhalter in the Royal Collection. The other three lithographs exhibited were after Winterhalter’s portraits of Victoria and Albert’s children: Prince Leopold, Princess Beatrice and Prince Arthur.

A similar pair of signed engravings were presented to Queen Victoria’s favourite Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli and his wife Mary Anne. They can be seen at Hughenden Manor,  in Buckinghamshire the Disraelis’ country seat from 1848. Another pair belonging to the Government Art Collection are in the British Embassy, Vienna.

Sir John Francis Davis, 1st Baronet (1795-1890) was a writer at the East India Company’s factory in Canton (Guangzhou) where he immersed himself in the study of Chinese language, history and customs. He produced several translations of Chinese tales, and thereby greatly increased British understanding of sinology. In 1815, he was chosen to accompany Lord Amherst on his embassy to Peking in 1816. He was successively President at the Canton factory, and Second Superintendent of British Trade in China. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1832, and, in 1844, was appointed Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Hong Kong. During his term of office the implementation of new taxes were deeply resented, however weekend horse racing was begun during his tenure. Davis resigned his commission and left Hong Kong in 1848. He was created a baronet in 1845 and appointed a K.C.B. in 1854. In 1876 he endowed a scholarship in his name for the encouragement of the study of Chinese at Oxford University.


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