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The Art of Monarchy

A collaboration with BBC Radio 4 to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

Laurits Regner Tuxen (1853-1927)

The Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, 28 June 1897 Dated 1897-1900

RCIN 405286

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According to the artist’s Diary, Tuxen was commissioned by Queen Victoria in 1897 to paint a picture of the Jubilee Garden Party at which would be present the elite members of London society together with other individuals from the British Empire who had connections with the court of St James’s. The Prince of Wales (the future Edward VII) showed a particular interest in progress on the picture and visited Tuxen in Copenhagen and at Windsor to discuss the composition.

The artist was given permission to work in the Garden Entrance at St James’s Palace and was authorised to apply for sitting to anyone who had been present at the Garden Party ‘in accordance with The Queen’s wishes it may be a faithful Representation of that interesting Occasion’. An account of the Garden Party, with a list of those present, was printed in The Times on 29th June 1897. The Queen and members of the Royal Family entered the garden at a quarter past five. In the painting Queen Victoria appears to be returning to the Palace at the end of the party. In the background is the lake and on the right the royal tent. The Queen is accompanied in her carriage by the Princess of Wales who had changed places with the Empress Frederick during the afternoon.

No Key to the picture has survived but the following can be recognised.

  • the Archbishop of Canterbury, Frederick Temple
  • the Bishop of Winchester, Randall Davidson
  • A J Balfour
  • Joseph Chamberlain
  • the Marquess of Salisbury
  • Sir Spencer Ponsonby-Fane
  • Sir Arthur Sullivan
  • Sir Henry Irving

A set of fifteen studies by Tuxen, of sitters who were to be incorporated into the composition is in a private collection in Denmark. The majority are inscribed by the artist with the name of the sitter. They enable the following to be identified: Princess Hohenlohe, Cardinal Vaughan, Earl Spencer, Sir William MacCormac, the Duchesses of Devonshire and Portland, Lord Mount Edgcumbe, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, Lord and Lady Rothschild, Lord and Lady Balfour of Burleigh, Sir Squire and Lady Bancroft, the Countess of Pembroke, Lord Halsbury, Sir Fleetwood Edwards, Admiral of the Fleet Sir John Commerell and Lord Egerton of Tattonp. In attendance on the Queen are Miss Aline Majendie, Miss Harriet Phipps, Miss Mary Hughes, the Earl of Kintore, the Duke of Portland and Mr Fellowes. The Prince of Wales can be seen on the left, talking to a guest.