Queen Victoria's First Visit to her Wounded Soldiers
Queen Victoria's First Visit to her Wounded Soldiers
by Jerry Barrett
oil on canvas, 1856
58 1/4 in. x 86 3/8 in. (1480 mm x 2193 mm) overall
Purchased with help from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund, 1993
Artistback to top
- Jerry Barrett (1824-1906), Painter. Artist associated with 9 portraits, Sitter in 4 portraits.
Sittersback to top
- Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (1819-1861), Prince Consort of Queen Victoria. Sitter in 206 portraits, Artist associated with 2 portraits.
- Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1844-1900), Naval officer; second son of Queen Victoria. Sitter associated with 78 portraits.
- George Barratt. Sitter in 1 portrait.
- John Breese (1817-1889). Sitter in 1 portrait.
- Charlotte Canning (née Stuart), Countess Canning (1817-1861), Wife of 1st Earl Canning. Sitter in 3 portraits.
- George Russell Dartnell (1799-1878), Army surgeon. Sitter in 1 portrait.
- Colonel Eden. Sitter in 1 portrait.
- Mrs Eden. Sitter in 1 portrait.
- King Edward VII (1841-1910), Reigned 1901-10. Sitter associated with 505 portraits.
- Prince George William Frederick Charles, 2nd Duke of Cambridge (1819-1904), Army officer. Sitter associated with 50 portraits.
- Sir Charles Grey (1804-1870), General, private secretary to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and private secretary to Queen Victoria. Sitter in 4 portraits.
- Henry Hardinge, 1st Viscount Hardinge of Lahore (1785-1856), Governor-General of India. Sitter in 22 portraits.
- James Higgins. Sitter in 1 portrait.
- Hon. Lucy Maria Kerr (1815-1874), Maid of Honour to Queen Victoria. Sitter in 1 portrait.
- Sergeant Leny. Sitter in 1 portrait.
- John McCabe. Sitter in 1 portrait.
- Sir Charles Beaumont Phipps (1801-1866), Court official. Sitter in 4 portraits.
- Henry Cooper Reade (1818-1873), Army surgeon. Sitter in 1 portrait. (In this portrait)
- Queen Victoria (1819-1901), Reigned 1837-1901. Sitter associated with 541 portraits, Artist associated with 5 portraits.
This portraitback to top
Queen Victoria was deeply affected by the sufferings of her troops in the Crimea. Barrett shows her visiting disabled soldiers at the Brompton Hospital, Chatham on 3 March 1855, with her husband, Prince Albert, and their two eldest sons, the Prince of Wales and Prince Alfred, later Duke of Edinburgh. The bearded figure behind the Queen is her cousin George, Duke of Cambridge, who had himself fought at the battles of Alma and Inkerman but who returned home in horror at his experiences. At the right of the official party behind the royal group is Lord Hardinge, Commander-in-Chief of forces. The two uniformed officers in front of him are Colonel Eden, Commandant of the Chatham garrison, and, holding a card, Dr. Reade, staff surgeon of the hospital. A number of the disabled soldiers can be identified. Seated on the bed talking to the Princes is Sergeant Leny, who had fought at the battles of the Alma, Balaclava, and Inkerman, while the figure lying in bed behind him is the badly injured James Higgins, whose 'appearance caused much painful emotion to her Majesty'. Seated on the far left is Private John McCabe who sustained terrible injuries taking part in the cavalry charge at Balaclava. The standing figure on the far right is Sergeant John Breese who lost an arm at Inkerman: after the Queen's visit he was appointed to her personal Body Guard. Behind him sits the sad figure of George Barrett who received a shot between his eyes at Inkerman, leaving him with a 'fearful scar' and the loss of his senses of taste and smell.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Ribeiro, Aileen, The Gallery of Fashion, 2000, p. 180
- Ribeiro, Aileen; Blackman, Cally, A Portrait of Fashion: Six Centuries of Dress at the National Portrait Gallery, 2015, p. 180
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 730
Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1856back to top
Current affairsQueen Victoria introduces the Victoria cross, an award for British soldiers who displayed exceptional valour in battle. Each medal was produced from Russian guns captured in the British war. In 2006, Lance Corporal Johnson Beharry became the first living recipient of the Victoria Cross since 1965, for his actions in the Iraq war.
Art and scienceThe National Portrait Gallery is founded by Philip Henry Stanhope, 5th Earl of Stanhope, Thomas Babington Macaulay, and Thomas Carlyle, all biographers and historians. Historical rather than artistic in focus, the Gallery's aim was to collect original portraits of outstanding figures from British history, notably from politics, the arts, literature and science.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning publishes her epic and autobiographical poem Aurora Leigh.
InternationalThe Treaty of Paris ends the Crimean war. Russia concedes to the Anglo-French-Austrian Four Points of August 1854 including the guarantee of Ottoman sovereignty and territorial integrity. Russia also agreed to a demilitarisation of the land islands in the Baltics, a term which lasted until the outbreak of the First World War.
Britain launches the second Opium war against China.
See this portrait
On display in Room 23 at the National Portrait Gallery