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A spotlight on outstanding women artists and their works in the Royal Collection

Elisabeth Jerichau-Baumann (1819-81)

'The Norwegian Widow' Signed and dated 1852

RCIN 403883

Drawing Room, Osborne House

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Born in Warsaw to German parents, Elisabeth Jerichau-Baumann attended the prestigious Düsseldorf Academy for her formative artistic training. She later travelled to Rome to further her education, where she met her husband, sculptor Jens Adolf Jerichau. On his appointment as professor at the Academy of Copenhagen, they moved to Denmark where she received royal patronage, including from Princess Alexandra of Denmark, later Queen Alexandra.

Jerichau-Baumann painted a broad range of subjects, from sensitive and atmospheric portraits to mermaids, genre and history scenes. She travelled widely and gained critical success, exhibiting frequently in London and across Europe. Her paintings caught the eye of Queen Victoria during an exhibition at the Bridgewater Gallery in London in 1852. The Queen invited Jerichau-Baumann to show her works at Buckingham Palace, and subsequently acquired The Norwegian Widow. It wasn’t only Victoria who admired the artist’s work. The Times reported that 'the lovers of simple natural beauty will not fail to be attracted by the portrait of an Icelandic maiden, in her national Sunday suit, holding her Psalm book in her hand - a picture which for the tenderness and truthfulness of execution seems to us worthy of the highest praise.'