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George Housman Thomas (1824-68)

Queen Victoria distributing the first Victoria Crosses seen close up drawn Jun 1857

Watercolour and bodycolour over pencil | 30.5 x 46.0 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 916806

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A watercolour depicting Queen Victoria presenting the medals. On the Queen's right is Prince Frederick William of Prussia and beyond him Prince Alfred and the Prince of Wales. To the Queen's left is Lord Panmure, Secretary at War, with Prince Albert and others. In 1856 Queen Victoria instituted the Victoria Cross to recognise conspicuous bravery throughout all ranks of the armed forces. The first ceremony to distribute the crosses was held in Hyde Park in June 1857. Queen Victoria can be seen here on horseback, fastening the decoration on the jacket of Captain of the Mast George Henry Ingouville, who won the Victoria Cross for operations in the Baltic Campaign in 1855.