About this artwork

Born at Kensington Palace, the only child of the Duke of Kent and Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg, Queen Victoria succeeded to the throne on the death of her uncle, William IV. Not only did she become the longest reigning British monarch but she was also the figurehead of a vast empire. In 1840 she married her cousin, Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and their happy marriage brought forth a family of nine children. After Albert’s death she largely retired from public life and spent much of her time at Balmoral in Scotland. This delicate watercolour by Chalon was the very first portrait the young queen sat for after her accession to the throne. She is dressed in the robes she wore when Parliament was dissolved after her uncle’s death, her hat casually discarded on the floor.

  • title: Queen Victoria, 1819 - 1901. Reigned 1837 - 1901
  • accession number: PG 1000
  • artist: Alfred Edward ChalonSwiss (1780 - 1860)
  • depicted: Queen Victoria
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • subject: Royalty
  • medium: Watercolour
  • date created: 1838
  • measurements: 44.50 x 31.00 cm (framed: 86.36 x 67.94 x 7.62 cm)
  • credit line: Purchased 1925
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve

Alfred Edward Chalon

Alfred Edward Chalon

Chalon was born in Geneva but moved with his family to London at the time of the French Revolution. He studied at the Royal Academy Schools from 1797 and established a reputation as a fashionable portraitist in watercolours. He was appointed Portrait Painter in Watercolours to Queen Victoria in 1837 and he was the first artist to whom she sat after her accession. His portrait of the young queen was used on early issues of colonial stamps.