Queen Victoria at Osborne. Sir Edwin Landseer, R.A., 1865-67. Oil on canvas. 147,8 x 211.9 cm (support, canvas/panel/str external). Royal Collection Trust, RCIN 403580. © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2022. The painting is set in the grounds of of Osborne House, which can be seen in the background. [Click on the image to enlarge it. See here for a closer view of the central figures.]

In accordance with Queen Victoria's own wishes, Landseer shows the Queen in her sorrowful widowhood, after Price Albert's untimely death — "as I am now, sad & lonely, seated on my pony, led by Brown, with a representation of Osborne." This is quoted on the Royal Collection site, where the painting is described as showing her in deep mourning, mounted on her pony, Flora, with her gillie, John Brown, holding the reins. They are on the terrace at Osborne, and the Queen is reading a dispatch from the red dispatch box on the ground, with her riding gloves beside it. It may have been intended to dispel doubts about her attention to the affairs of state, but instead it stirred up rumours about her relationship with Brown. But two of the princesses (Louise and Helena) are seen chatting nearby. Victoria was not known either for her reticence or for dissembling. However close and warm the relationship was, there was hardly likely to have been anything untoward about it. To her he was, as she noted in her journal on 9 October 1854, when Albert was alive, "the most attentive, & handy gillie possible" (Journals, 9th October 1854).

Photographs and text by Jacqueline Banerjee, by kind permission of the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery. You may use the images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the gallery and the photographer, and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.


Queen Victoria. Journal Entry: Monday 9 October 1854. Queen Victoria's Journals (http://www.queenvictoriasjournals.org/home.do). Web. 14 April 2022.

Queen Victoria at Osborne. Royal Collection Trust. Web. 14 April 2022.

Created 14 April 2022