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William Charles Ross, Prince Albert

Key facts
Full title Prince Albert
Artist William Charles Ross
Artist dates 1794 - 1860
Date made 1840
Medium and support Watercolour on ivory
Dimensions 5.5 × 4.5 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Mr Edwin Bucher, 1991
Inventory number NG6537
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Prince Albert
William Charles Ross

This little portrait in watercolour on ivory was apparently produced in 1840, the year of Queen Victoria’s marriage to Prince Albert. From the Saxon duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, Albert was 20 when he married Victoria, his first cousin. This is one of several portraits of the Prince Consort painted by Ross, who was Queen Victoria’s Miniature Painter in Ordinary.

Prince Albert had a keen appreciation of painting and was one of the first collectors in Britain to buy so-called primitive Italian and German painting. By ‘primitive’ it was meant that the pictures had been produced before the Renaissance. In 1863, after the death of Prince Albert at the relatively young age of 42, Queen Victoria presented a number of his pictures to the National Gallery in accordance with her late husband’s wishes. These included some of the first fifteenth-century German pictures to enter the Gallery’s collection. Among the paintings presented were the Crucifixion by Quentin Massys, the Virgin and Child by Hans Memling, Mater Dolorosa and the Virgin and Child by the workshop of Dirk Bouts, and An Augustinian Friar (?) by Gerard David.

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