Princess Victoria aged Four
This portrait of Princess Victoria depicts her at four years of age, dressed in a black pelisse, with a fox fur tippet, a large black hat decorated with feathers, black shoes, white stockings and grey gloves.
It was often commented that Princess Victoria was a fatherless child, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn (1767 –1820), died of pneumonia less than a year after his daughter's birth. The painting has a melancholy mood with Victoria dressed in black and a fallen rose across the path.
Stephen Poyntz Denning (1795-1864) started life as a beggar and was apprenticed for seven years colouring prints. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1814 until 1852. He was commissioned by Queen Victoria to produce a copy of Franz Xaver Winterhalter’s ‘The Royal Family’ (in the Royal Collection RCIN 405413).
Denning held the position of Keeper of Dulwich Picture Gallery from 1821 to 1864 (he was the Second Keeper after Ralph Cockburn) and ‘Princess Victoria aged Four’ remained in his private collection until his death. It entered the collection in 1891 and has remained one of the most popular paintings. It has been made into an engraving in mezzotint by J. Watkins Chapman in 1901 and has even reproduced on a number of ephemera items including biscuit tins.