Search results

Start typing

This exhibition is in the past. View our current exhibitions.


Sir William Ross (1794-1860), Queen Victoria (1819-1901), 1839, RCIN 420260©

Queen Victoria was the first Queen Regnant, and Prince Albert the first male consort, since the early 1700s. This presented a challenge to portrait painters, since the conventions that had been appropriate for Victoria’s male predecessors no longer applied.

Winterhalter looked for inspiration to the Dutch and Flemish old masters, especially Van Dyck, but his Royal Family in 1846 was a brilliant and original response to the challenge. The viewer is left in no doubt that the Queen and her eldest son represent the royal line, while Prince Albert rules the family.

Winterhalter’s family picture quickly became famous through public exhibition and engraving. Many of the other portraits shown here were painted for the eyes of the family only. Several record their life away from the official world, in Scotland or the Isle of Wight. The young Queen and her husband appear in a variety of guises–as medieval rulers, in full Highland garb or even as the Holy Family–in a group of royal portraits of unprecedented range.

The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.