A Signed Presentation Double Portrait Photograph the Duke of Windsor and Duchess of Windsor by Dorothy Wilding, dated 1952
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Overall: 30cm (11.75ins) x 28cm (10.5ins)
Contained in original vellum and leather easel backed, gilt tooled ‘WE’ monogrammed and ducally coroneted presentation glazed frame by Saint Yves, Paris.
Signed 'Wallis Windsor' by the Duchess, 'Edward' by the Duke and further dated ‘1952’ by the Duke.
The image dates to the period of the Windsor’s residency in a house provided by the French government at the Neuilly-sur-Seine side of the Bois de Boloungne. At this period the Duke (1894-1972) and Duchess (1895-1986) effectively took on the role of celebrities and were regarded among the elite of café society, hosting parties and shuttling between Paris and New York.
Dorothy Wilding (1893-1976) opened her first photographic studio in Bond Street, London in 1929 and quickly became the favoured photographer of British royalty, society figures and international celebrities. Her early portraits of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon led ultimately to the commission for the official Royal Family portrait for the 1937 coronation of George VI, which in turn led to a Royal Warrant, making Wilding the first woman to be appointed an official royal photographer. In 1937 she opened a second studio in New York, where sitters included George Bernard Shaw, Douglas Fairbanks, the Windsors, and Tallulah Bankhead. Wilding’s favoured relationship with the Royal family continued postwar, and included the production of further official portraits of George VI and afterwards iconic images of the young Queen Elizabeth II. Dorothy Wilding retired in 1958. Her archives are held by the National Portrait Gallery and formed the basis of a major NPG retrospective in 1991 entitled The Pursuit of Perfection.