What a beautiful painting of Queen Victoria. So unlike the photos of her of which most of us are acquainted! But an artist has the option to highlight, or even exaggerate, the beauty he or she sees in a subject ... and downplay any perceived flaws, making, in some ways, a much more "true" representation of a person. A photograph only captures a fraction of a second of a person's life ... but a painting, created over several days, weeks or months, can capture the divinity inherent in all nature.
This painting is called "the secret picture". It was commissioned by Queen Victoria and presented to her husband, Prince Albert, as a surprise for his 24th birthday - for his eyes only.
It was an unusual painting of Royalty at the time, both for its lack of focus on exuberant costume and finery, and also for its sensuality.
The glass heart-shaped locket the Queen is wearing is thought to be the pendant containing a lock of Prince Albert's hair, and which the Queen wore day and night before their marriage. Since this picture was meant for her husband's eyes only - it would certainly have signalled her utter devotion to him. Prince Albert so loved this painting that it was hung in his Writing Room in Windsor.
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2017 / edited 2020
Bibliography: Royal Collection Trust, UK