Reproduction of the painting kindly permitted by the Dulwich Picture Gallery, London. Mouse over the text for links.
The little princess is seen walking in Kensington Gardens, in a painting that sums up the formality of her early life at Kensington Palace, where her father Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, had been granted apartments. However, she was now fatherless, as the Prince had died of pneumonia in 1820, within a year of her birth: "The painting has a melancholy mood with Victoria dressed in black and a fallen rose across the path" ("Princess Victoria"). Fortunately, she could play much more naturally and freely in the rolling grounds of Claremont in Esher, Surrey, where she often visited her uncle Leopold — and where a life-size cardboard cut-out of the figure in this painting sometimes stands near the National Trust's entrance.
The artist, Stephen Poyntz Denning (1795-1864), was the second Keeper of the Dulwich Picture Gallery, holding that position from 1821 to 1864. During his lifetime this popular picture was in his private collection; it was not acquired by the gallery until 1891.