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Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, wife of John, 9th Duke of Argyll, 4th daughter of Queen Victoria (1848-1939)

Prince Arthur (1850-1942) 1869

61.5 x 33.0 x 26.0 cm (whole object) | RCIN 31662

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As well as making drawings and watercolours, Princess Louise was active as a sculptor from her mid-teens. She worked with a succession of professional sculptors including Mary Thornycroft (1814 – 95) and Alfred Gilbert (1854 – 1934). Her first sculptural projects consisted of modelling busts in clay of her brothers and sisters, including this portrait her younger brother Prince Arthur (1850 – 1942), later Duke of Connaught. The portrait busts were presented to her mother, Queen Victoria, as birthday or Christmas presents. Princess Louise’s greatest sculptural project was the full-sized seated figure of Queen Victoria, on which she began work with the sculptor Alfred Gilbert in 1893. That sculpture was commissioned to be placed outside the east front of Kensington Palace – where it remains to this day.