The Alliance. The Visit of the Emperor and Empress of France, 16 April 1855.
About the work
This image is based on an earlier mezzotint print (published in 1839), also engraved by Samuel William Reynolds, after the work of Frederick Tayler. The earlier version shows the Queen again on horseback and in the same pose and setting, but accompanied by the King of the Belgians to the left and Wellington, Lord Hill and a train of soldiers to right.
For this later version Reynolds, rather than Taylor, has added the portraits of Prince Albert, the Emperor and Empress of France, etc., in order to update the image and relate it to the recent visit of Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (known as Napolean III) and his wife, Eugénie de Montijo.
Napolean III and Eugénie, Emperor and Empress of France, left Paris to visit Queen Victoria on Sunday 15 April 1855. Prince Albert met the couple at Dover the following day. They then travelled by train to Windsor Castle, where they were received by the Queen.
About the artist
Samuel William Reynolds was a painter and engraver. Despite publishing his first prints in the mid-1790s, he found himself in debt by 1800 and came to rely upon the financial help of Samuel Whitbread MP. It was under Whitbread’s patronage that Reynolds was able to broaden his interests to include painting, architecture and landscape design. He exhibited paintings at the Royal Academy and British Institution and was also a collector; owning a group of drawings by Thomas Girtin. In 1809 he visited France for the first time and he went on to exhibit engravings at the Paris Salon in 1810 and 1812. Reynolds also worked in Paris on occasion, where he found a market for his paintings of landscapes and cottage scenes.