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Sarah Biffin (1784 - 1850)

Lot 167: Miss Sarah Biffin (British, 1784-1850) Victoria (1819-1901), Queen of Great Britain (1837-1901), wearing white dress with lace trim and large cuffs, blue sash of the Order of the Garter, black lace shawl, diamond diadem, matching pendent earrings and

Bonhams

November 19, 2008
London, United Kingdom

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Description

Victoria (1819-1901), Queen of Great Britain (1837-1901), wearing white dress with lace trim and large cuffs, blue sash of the Order of the Garter, black lace shawl, diamond diadem, matching pendent earrings and white gloves, she holds in her hand a handkerchief and posy of flowers, an open book, closed fan and ermine robe on the front of the Royal Box, an upholstered chair bearing initials VR behind.
Watercolour on paper, laid down on card on which inscribed and dated Drawn and written by Miss Biffin without hands 1848, framed.
Rectangular, 326mm (12 13/16in) high

Notes


Victoria was born the only child of Edward, Duke of Kent, fourth son of George III. Her father died shortly after her birth and she became heir to the throne due to her uncles' inability to produce a legitimate child. On William IV's death in 1837, she became Queen at the age of 18.

In the early part of her reign, she was influenced by two men: her first Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, and her husband, Prince Albert, whom she married in 1840. Her marriage to Prince Albert brought nine children between 1840 and 1857. Victoria was deeply attached to her husband and sank into depression after he died in 1861. She had lost a devoted husband and her principal trusted adviser in affairs of state. For the rest of her reign she wore black. After initially hiding herself away after Albert's death, with time, the private urgings of her family and the flattering attention of Benjamin Disraeli the Prime Minister, the Queen gradually resumed her public duties.

Victoria's popularity grew with the increasing imperial sentiment from the 1870s onwards. After the Indian Mutiny of 1857, the government of India was transferred from the East India Company to the Crown with the position of Governor General upgraded to Viceroy, and in 1877 Victoria became Empress of India under the Royal Titles Act passed by Disraeli's government.

It was during Victoria's reign that the modern idea of the constitutional monarch, whose role was to remain above political parties, began to evolve. But Victoria herself was not always non-partisan and she took the opportunity to give her opinions, sometimes very forcefully, in private.

Victoria and her family travelled and were seen on an unprecedented scale, thanks to transport improvements and other changes such as the spread of newspapers and the invention of photography. In her later years, she almost became the symbol of the British Empire. Both the Golden (1887) and the Diamond (1897) Jubilees, were marked with great displays and public ceremonies.

Victoria died at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, on 22 January 1901 after a reign which lasted almost 64 years, the longest in British history.

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Fine Portrait Miniatures

by
Bonhams
November 19, 2008, 12:00 PM GMT

London, United Kingdom