Queen Victoria

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Queen Victoria

replica by Sir George Hayter
oil on canvas, 1863, based on a work of 1838
112 1/2 in. x 70 1/2 in. (2858 mm x 1790 mm)
Given by Queen Victoria, 1900
Primary Collection
NPG 1250

On display in Room 15 on Floor 3 at the National Portrait Gallery

Sitterback to top

  • Queen Victoria (1819-1901), Reigned 1837-1901. Sitter associated with 548 portraits, Artist or producer associated with 5 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Sir George Hayter (1792-1871), Portrait and history painter; son of Charles Hayter. Artist or producer associated with 198 portraits, Sitter associated with 16 portraits.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • I-Spy National Portrait Gallery, 2010, p. 36
  • Victorian Portraits Resource Pack, p. 8
  • 100 Pioneering Women, p. 66 Read entry

    On the throne from 1837 until her death, Queen Victoria (1819-1901) was the United Kingdom’s longest-reigning monarch until her great-great-granddaughter Elizabeth II surpassed her in 2015. On her accession, aged eighteen, she described herself as ‘full of courage’. Her Empire covered a quarter of the globe and 400 million subjects. She was known for her iron will – evident in her response when offered commiseration on British reverses in the Boer War (1899-1902): ‘We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat; they do not exist.’ She reinvigorated Britain’s monarchy, reconnecting it with the people through civic duty – she was patron of some 150 institutions. In 1840, she married Prince Albert, her cousin. They had nine children, whom Victoria helped marry into European royalty. She transformed herself into the figurehead of the world’s most powerful nation, though one undergoing great change.

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  • Bayly, Christopher, The Raj: India and the British 1600-1947, 1990 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 19 October 1990 - 17 March 1991), p. 331
  • Cannadine, Sir David (Introduction); Cooper, Tarnya; Stewart, Louise; MacGibbon, Rab; Cox, Paul; Peltz, Lucy; Moorhouse, Paul; Broadley, Rosie; Jascot-Gill, Sabina, Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits, 2018 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, USA, 7 October 2018 -3 February 2019. Bendigo Art Gallery, Australia, 16 March - 14 July 2019.), p. 8, 186 Read entry

    Queen Victoria came to the throne at the age of eighteen on the death of her uncle, William IV, in 1837 and was crowned queen on 28 June 1838. On the day of her coronation she wrote in her journal: 'I really cannot say how proud I feel to be the Queen of such a Nation.' Hayter had been appointed the young queen's official portrait painter in 1837, when she described him as 'out and out the best portrait painter in my opinion'. This is a replica of the original official coronation portrait that was painted from life during the summer of 1838, when the queen gave the artist twelve sittings. The original remained in Hayter's studio until 1871, allowing him to make replicas for state purposes. This version was commissioned for the National Portrait Gallery in 1863 by the queen herself. Hayter also made a small version for the queen's private apartments, which she described as 'excessively like and beautifully painted'.

  • Cooper, John, A Guide to the National Portrait Gallery, 2009, p. 37 Read entry

    This portrait shows the eighteen-year-old Queen Victoria at her coronation in 1838. Her reign was to become the longest in British history.

  • Cooper, John, Visitor's Guide, 2000, p. 70
  • Funnell, Peter, Victorian Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery Collection, 1996, p. 8
  • Funnell, Peter (introduction); Marsh, Jan, A Guide to Victorian and Edwardian Portraits, 2011, p. 50 Read entry

    Queen Victoria (1819-1901) ascended to the throne at the age of eighteen on the death of her uncle, William IV, in 1837 and was crowned on 28 June 1838. She wrote in her journal on the day of her Coronation: ‘I really cannot say how proud I feel to be the Queen of such a Nation’, and some of this idealism is conveyed in Hayter’s Coronation portrait. Victoria described a small version of this portrait, which Hayter painted for her private apartments, as ‘excessively like and beautifully painted’. This version is an autograph replica of an original of 1838. Victoria’s reign was the longest in British history and she influenced, to a considerable extent, the foreign and domestic policies of successive governments and the attitudes and manners of her people.

  • Hart-Davis, Adam, Chain Reactions, 2000, p. 90
  • John Cooper, National Portrait Gallery Visitor's Guide, 2006, p. 70 Read entry

    This painting was bought by Queen Victoria from the artist’s executors and presented by her to the Gallery in 1900. The image blends youth and pageantry as the eighteen-year-old queen assumes responsibility for the world’s first industrial power. Heraldic symbols evoke Britishness, and the grand setting seems appropriate for an Empress-to-be.

  • Ormond, Richard, Early Victorian Portraits, 1973, p. 474
  • Rab MacGibbon, National Portrait Gallery: The Collection, p. 60
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 633

Events of 1838back to top

Current affairs

The Anti-Corn Law league is established in Manchester, led by Richard Cobden and John Bright, aiming to create a fully free-trade economy.
The People's Charter is published, demanding many constitutional amendments that would become central to future democratic reform, including universal male suffrage and secret ballots. Despite having one million signatures (and 5 million by 1848), the petition was rejected.
Slavery is completely abolished.

Art and science

Turner's The Fighting Temeraire is exhibited at the Royal Academy. The Temeraire, which had broken the line at the Battle of Trafalgar, was a reflection on the rapid changes of the industrial age. This was demonstrated this year when Isambard Brunel's Great Western crosses the Atlantic, in just fifteen days - a ship under sail could take a month.
The London-Birmingham railway is also completed, the line engineered by Robert Stephenson.


The first stage in the formation of independent Boer republics in South Africa, as the Republic of Natal is formed in South Africa, following the Boers defeat of the Matabele of Mzilikasi. This comes two years after the Dutch-speaking inhabitants of the British-ruled colony of South Africa set out on the Great Trek, in search of their own independent state.
The Central American Federation, an experimental republic formed of several Latin states splits.

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