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Queen Victoria

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Queen Victoria

replica by Sir Francis Leggatt Chantrey
marble bust, 1841, based on a work of 1839
28 in. x 19 1/4 in. (710 mm x 490 mm) overall
Purchased with help from George Harland Peck, 1913
Primary Collection
NPG 1716

Sitterback to top

  • Queen Victoria (1819-1901), Reigned 1837-1901. Sitter associated with 546 portraits, Artist or producer associated with 5 portraits.

Artistback to top

This portraitback to top

This replica of Chantrey's bust of 1839 was presented by the Queen to Sir Robert Peel in 1846.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Smartify image discovery app
  • 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. 332
  • 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. 189 Read entry

    Sir Francis Chantrey had made portraits of three successive British monarchs (George III, George IV, William IV) during their lifetimes before commencing this bust of Victoria. Perhaps in recognition of this distinction, the new queen initiated this commission from the sculptor shortly after her coronation. Chantrey is said to have been daunted by the prospect, worried that he would not be able to imbue his youthful sitter with sufficient gravitas. Victoria sat for him seven times and was encouraged to converse or to attend to her correspondence for a more dynamic aspect. Studies included two drawings produced with the aid of a camera lucida, also in the National Portrait Gallery's collection. When the clay model for the bust was complete, Victoria gave her approval, noting in her diary that it was 'perfect'. The marble bust, based on the original clay, was then worked up by Chantrey and studio assistants, including a marble carver named James Heffernan. A plaster cast made from the original clay model allowed the sculptor's studio to produce replicas, such as this bust, which was made two years later, and ordered by the queen as a gift for the prime minister Sir Robert Peel.

  • Ormond, Richard, Early Victorian Portraits, 1973, p. 478
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 634

Events of 1839back to top

Current affairs

The Bedchamber crisis strains relations between the government and the monarchy, after Queen Victoria refuses to dismiss her Whig-appointed ladies of the bedchamber at the request of the new, Conservative Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel. Peel resigns and Melbourne returns as Prime Minister.
The Grand National is first held at the Aintree race course, won by the horse Lottery, and the first Henley Royal Regatta, the rowing event, is held on the Thames.

Art and science

The French and British scientists Louis Daguerre and William Henry Fox Talbot separately publicise their experiments with the new form of photography.
The prolific journalist Harriet Martineau publishes her three decker novel Deerbrook, the story of middle class country life.


The first Opium War with China is sparked after the British government refuses to try six British soldiers accused of killing a Chinese man protecting a temple from looters. Relations were strained as Britain had promoted the drug opium in China to boost trade. Winning the war, Britain secured vital trading rights.
African captives aboard the Spanish ship La Amistad revolt, resulting in a highly publicised court case.

Tell us more back to top

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Paul Frecker

06 September 2019, 23:35

There is another replica of this at Dunrobin Castle in Scotland, except they don't appear to know what they've got. I was told on Wednesday that it was a bust of 'one of Queen Victoria's daughters but we don't know which one.' I did a Google image search when I got home looking for 'Queen Victoria marble bust' and I found yours, which is almost exactly the same as theirs except for some small variations in the tiara. Presumably, therefore, the one at Dunrobin is an exact match to the one in the Royal Collection, mentioned in the extended catalogue entry.

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