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Thomas Sully (1783-1872)

Queen Victoria (1819-1901) 1837-39

Oil on canvas | 61.3 x 51.2 cm (support, canvas/panel/str external) | RCIN 404799

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The Society of the Sons of St George at Philadelphia commissioned Sully to paint a portrait of the young Queen Victoria (now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York); this head is either a copy from that portrait or from a preliminary sketch for it. The Queen is shown looking over her shoulder, as if turning to address the viewer; she is wearing the diamond diadem, drop diamond earrings and a diamond necklace.

The Queen recorded in her Journal sittings for the Metropolitan Museum portrait in March, April and May 1838. At one of these her 'ladies of honour' were present and the Queen laughed and talked, 'a happy innocent girl of Eighteen'. The portrait was finished on 14 January 1839 but a contemporary, Lady Catherine Harcourt, did not consider it very pleasing or a correct likeness.