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George Washington Wilson (1823-93)

Queen Victoria on 'Fyvie' with John Brown, Balmoral 20 - 20 Oct 1863

RCIN 2149209

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This portrait of Queen Victoria and John Brown, published in 1864, was Wilson’s most commercially successful image of the queen. The original version features the queen on her pony Fyvie with two of her servants – John Brown (1827–83) and John Grant (1810–79). It was taken to mark the second anniversary of the ‘Great Expedition’ of 1861, during which the queen and Prince Albert trekked 84 miles into the Highlands. As a pictorial memorial to her deceased husband, the queen gave her consent for the image to be published. However, when the publishers Marion & Co. cropped Grant out of the photograph, leaving only the queen with Brown, the photograph’s original meaning was lost. It fuelled rumours about the queen’s relationship with her favourite personal attendant.