Queen Victoria stands at the top of some steps, dressed in her coronation robes and the blue riband of the order of the garter. She rests one arm against the base of a sizeable stone column.
This portrait of Queen Victoria is an engraving after Alfred Chalon’s original coronation portrait, painted in watercolours. It has been suggested that the original is the version now in the Belgian Royal Collection. The portrait head of the Queen in this and other versions was used as the design for stamps during the Victorian period, known to collectors as ‘Chalons’.
Victoria succeeded to the throne in 1837 and married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg Gotha three years later in 1840. Victoria’s influence on British politics and society was extensive. During her reign, she saw the development of industry and commerce; the expansion of the British Empire; and numerous social reforms. Numerous state portraits of her were made and the growth of the illustrated press meant that her image could be widely disseminated.
Alfred Edward Chalon was born in Geneva but moved to England as a child, when his father was made French professor at Sandhurst. He began his studies at the Royal Academy Schools in 1797 and, having become a fashionable portraitist, was elected a Royal Academician in 1816. Chalon was the first to paint Queen Victoria on her accession to the throne. He was later appointed her official Portrait Painter in Water-colours. His brother, John James Chalon (1778-1854), was also a painter and together they established the Society for the Study of Epic and Pastoral Design in 1808, also known as the Bread and Cheese Society, and the Chalon Sketching Society. Chalon died in Kensington in 1860 and was buried in Highgate Cemetery.
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