The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Queen Victoria
  • Thomas Sully (1783 - 1872)
  • Queen Victoria
  • London, England
  • 1838
  • Painting
  • Oil on canvas
  • Image size: 142.5 x 112.5 cm
  • Signature: 'TS. June / 1838 / London'
  • P564
  • Front State Room
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • In 1837 the English-born American artist Thomas Sully visited London, bringing with him a commission from an American society, the Society of the Sons of Saint George of Philadelphia, to paint a portrait of the new Queen, Queen Victoria (1819-1901). Sully was given five sittings at Buckingham Palace at which he painted a bust-length study from which derived the full-length version (now in a private collection) for the Sons of Saint George. The Wallace Collection’s picture, also based on the life study, was commissioned for an engraving by Charles Edward Wagstaff. Principally through this engraving Sully’s portrait became one of the best known images of the young Queen Victoria.Sully kept a journal in which he recorded his impressions of the Queen: 'She is short, 5 feet 1 & 1/4 of an inch - of good form, particularly the neck and bosom - plump but not fat. Neatly formed head, perhaps rather infantine in the contour of the face. Forehead well proportioned - eyes a little prominent but kind and intelligent. Her nose well formed and such as I have frequently seen in persons of wit and intellect. A lovely, artless mouth when at rest - and when so, it is a little open, showing her teeth - Eyes light blue and large - Hair light Brown, smoothly braided from the front. And to sum up all, and apart from all prejudice, I should say decidedly that she was quite pretty.'