Ladies were presented to the Queen several times a year during Victoria’s reign, at ‘Drawing Rooms’, as depicted here. While women wait to meet the Queen, holding a card with their name on it, Victoria stands beneath a canopy with Albert. The Marchioness of Carmarthen kneels before her, kissing her hand. To the right of Victoria the Lord in Waiting holds the Marchioness’s card and announces her to the Queen. The events were conducted mostly in silence. After kissing the hand of Her Majesty, ladies were required to rise and walk backwards, while extending the left arm. The attendant behind draped the train over the arm and ladies carried it as they left.
This work contains over 50 portraits of figures, including the Prince of Wales, the Marchioness of Carmarthen, the Duchess of Wellington, Lord Clyde and Lord Palmerston. The artist was able to arrange sittings from at least some of those depicted and also gained access to the relevant room of St James’s Palace. The original painting toured the country for several years, displayed at private galleries in Bristol, London, Exeter and Liverpool, where visitors were charged an entrance fee to see it. The whereabouts of this painting is now unknown.
Frederick Stacpoole was the son of a lieutenant in the Royal Navy. He was educated in Ghent, Belgium, before entering the Royal Academy Schools, London. Early in his career he abandoned painting for engraving, producing mixed method engravings, which combine etching, line engraving and stipple techniques. He became the leading engraver of his time for his print after Holman Hunt’s ‘The Shadow of Death’, published in 1878. His work was exhibited at the Society of British Artists (1841-45; member from 1841) and the Royal Academy (1841-99; associate member from 1880). During the last ten years of his career, as photomechanical methods of reproduction reduced demand for hand-engraved plates, he returned to painting. He died in Putney, aged 95.
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