Emperor Franz Josef I - Colonel-in-Chief of 1st (The King’s) Dragoon Guards, 1900
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Overall: 31cm (12in) x 18cm (7in)
Ormolu, enamel and silver frame with autograph signed full length studio portrait of Emperor of Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria-Hungary, wearing the uniform of the Colonel-in-Chief of the British 1st (The King’s) Dragoon Guards, the Garter star and Order of the Golden Fleece at his neck. The elaborate round back gold cord lace forming a triple Austrian knot is same worn by Field Officers of the regiment and by regulation rose reaching to 11¾ inches from the bottom of the cuff. The Emperor’s right gloved hand rests on a table on which is placed his 1871 pattern plumed Dragoon Guards helmet bearing the twelve pointed Garter Star plate centered on the Queen Victoria’s Royal Crest. Signed by the Emperor in ink in the lower mount.
The frame is applied at the corners with the enamelled imperial F.J cyphers for the Franz Josef I and the coats of arms of the House of Hapsburg-Lorraine. The whole is surmounted by the Austrian crown worked in silver and finely enamelled. The easel backed frame is attributable to the Imperial Warrant holder to the Court of Emperor Franz Josef of Austria. J. C. Klinkosch of Vienna.
The Emperor was Colonel-in-chief of the 1st (The King's) Dragoon Guards (KDG), from 25 March 1896 and granted the KDG the privilege of wearing his family’s Hapsburg double-headed eagle as its cap badge, collar badge, and sergeants’ arm badge. The Emperor also ordered that a set of band music be sent to the Regiment; this was the Radetzky March composed by Johann Strauss in 1848 in honour of Austrian Field Marshal Count Josef Wenzel Radetzky. Following the cataclysm of the First World War that shattered the close ties of European royalty in 1914, the KDG reverted to its former Garter Star cap badge in 1915. The Hapsburg Eagle badge was restored to the KDG in 1937, and is worn today by its successor regiment 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards which continues the use of the Radetzky March as the regimental quick march.
Dual-Monarchy portraits of the present format with their uniquely elaborately frames are few in number and were bestowed as a form of special favour.