S.H. Holroyd, Princess Royal, Prince of Wales & Princess Alice - c.1845 painting


An original c.1845 watercolour painting, Lady Susan Harriet Holroyd Princess Royal and King Edward VII as Prince of Wales, and Princess Alice in 1843.

A charming watercolour painting by Lady Susan Harriet Holroyd (1829-1894) showing Queen Victoria's eldest three children in 1843: Victoria, Princess Royal (1840-1901); Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (1841-1910); and Princess Alice (1843-1878).

The painting is inscribed on the backing paper below: 'from a sketch by Ross in the possession of the Duchess of Kent'. The original watercolour by portraitist Sir William Ross (1794-1860) is in the Royal Collection (DM 4701).

Lady Susan was daughter of George Holroyd, 2nd Earl of Sheffield, who went on to marry the English naturalist and Conservative politician, Edward Vernon Harcourt. A talented artist, she has a drawing in the Royal Collection, and is best known for her drawings of the island of Madeira that were published as a book of lithographs called 'Sketches of Madeira' in 1851.

Laid down on backing paper.

Inscribed on backing paper: 'From a sketch by R [illegible] in the possession of the Duchess of Kent'.
In good condition for its age. The picture may have minor imperfections, such as slight marks, toning, foxing, creasing or pinholes, commensurate with age. Please see photos for detail. There are two short repaired tears to the right edge of the backing paper, which do not affect the painting.
28.1cm x 21.4cm.

This picture is one of a fine collection of works that we have sale by Lady Susan Harriet Holroyd (1829-1894). Executed in the 1840s, preceding her marriage to Edward Vernon Harcourt, they show a rich imagination and skilled hand, and reflect the literary and artistic tastes of early Victorian high society.

Lady Susan was clearly both well read and well travelled. Many of the pictures depict characters from the works of Sir Walter Scott, such as Rokeby, Lay of the Last Minstrel, The Monastery and The Abbot, and, as such, they show contemporary popularity for the new ‘historical’ novel and subjects inspired by myth and legend, medievalism, Chaucer and Shakespeare. These influences Lady Susan shared with her artistic contemporaries of the newly founded Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (1848), who were equally inspired by Scott: looking to history in rejection of the brutal materialism of the industrial revolution.

This taste for history, and medievalism in particular, may have begun for Lady Susan at a young age at the family home, Sheffield Place, a neo-Gothic house at Sheffield Park in Sussex, designed by James Wyatt around 1779. Susan grew up in a privileged household, daughter of George Holroyd, 2nd Earl of Sheffield (1802-1876), and Lady Harriet (1802-1889), daughter of Henry Lascelles, 2nd Earl of Harewood. The pictures in this collection also show Lady Susan copying various Reynolds portraits, having seen originals at nearby local estates, Buckhurst and Petworth.

In 1849, Susan Holroyd married Edward Vernon Harcourt (1825-1891), Naturalist, editor, travel writer and Conservative politician. Harcourt was author of two travel books, ‘Sketch of Madeira’ (1851) and ‘Sporting in Algeria’ (1859), and through his commentary on Madeira’s ornithology he exchanged letters with Charles Darwin. Lady Susan travelled with her husband, including in the year before her marriage, and a number of European landscape subjects in this collection possibly date from this time - at Gibraltar, Athens, Constantinople and Algiers, to name a few. In 1851 Lady Susan produced a book of lithographs of her drawings of Madeira, published in London by Thomas McLean, which showcases the quality of her draughtsmanship and copies of which are now extremely scarce.

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Product code: JN-492

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