The etching of a young girl was made by Queen Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom (1819-1901) and represents her niece Adelheid of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (1825-1900) – Ada, a daughter of the queen’s older step-sister Feodora of Leiningen. The print is titled Ada and signed by the queen in the lower left margin.
Queen Victoria, a keen and talented artist, whose numberless sketches are preserved in institutions and private collections, made a drawing of her beloved four year old niece, when Adelheid visited her famous aunt together with her mother and siblings, in September of 1840.
It was exactly at that time, that Victoria and her husband Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, also an amateur artist and enthusiast for technology, took up a new hobby – printmaking. Printmaking was a fashionable hobby by several noble women of the 18th and 19th centuries. It is known, that engravings have been made by Madame de Pompadour, Christine, princess of Braunschweig-Wolfenbuttel (1715-1797), the wife of Frederick the Great and Maria Anna of Austria (1738-1789), who became a member
of the Imperial Academy (Judith K. Brodsky, Judith K. Brodsky, In: Art Journal , Summer, 1976, Vol. 35, No. 4 (Summer, 1976), pp. 374-377).
The first etchings by queen Victoria and prince consort Albert were made under the guidance of the painter Sir George Hayter (1792 – 1871) and later ones with an assistance of Queen Victoria’s dresser, Marianne Skerrett. The royal couple presented the prints to the closer family members and friends.
The original sketch for our etching is dated September 4th and is preserved at the Royal Collection Trust (347600-1355409090.jpg (600×500) (rct.uk)).
This etching comes form a collection of portraits and views, collected by a German noble family Hohenlohe-Langenburg in the 19th century and mounted on colour sheets of the same size. In 1828, Queen Victoria’s older step-sister Feodora of Leiningen married Ernst I, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg and in 1835 their daughter Adelheid – Ada was born.
It is possible, that this etching, personally signed and titled by the queen, was given as a souvenir to her sister in the time of Feodora’s visit to London in September 1840.
References: Aydua H Scott–Elliot, The Etchings by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, In: Bulletin of the New York Public Library, Volume 65, 1961, pp. 139-153.
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