* Attributed to Nicholas Chevalier (1828-1902). Portrait of Queen Victoria, after Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-1873), circa 1857-1861, oil on canvas, three-quarter length portrait half-profile to left, depicting a young Queen Victoria against a landscape, wearing a white silk satin and lace gown and the Order of the Garter, her hands crossed one over the other, and a pink and a white rose hanging down on stems from her left hand, with a gold locket around her neck, sapphire and diamond brooch, a jewelled armband, and a sapphire and diamond tiara worn at the back of her plaited and looped hair, superficial scratch to lower right, and a few small unobtrusive marks upper left, sometime trimmed and re-lined, with some splitting to edges of re-lining at corners, stretcher with old printed label '44800', 139.7 x 105.3 cm (55 x 41.5 ins), contemporary substantial gilt moulded wood frame, with borders of stylised acanthus leaves and voluted drawer handles, and scrolling ribbon motif to outer edge, some discolouration and minor superficial chipping to gilt in a few places, with old framer's label on verso 'Richard Foster Norton, 83 Collins St. East, Melbourne', together with two typed letters relating to the painting: one from J.F Kerslake, Assistant Keeper at the National Portrait Gallery, London, dated 30th September 1964, stating "Your portrait is a version of the well-known portrait of Queen Victoria by Winterhalter painted in 1842"; the other from Ursula Hoff, Acting Director of the National Gallery of Victoria, dated 10th October 1968, saying " ... the portrait of Queen Victoria, after Winterhalter, is hanging at Government House in Melbourne ... "Qty: (1)NOTESProvenance: Collection of Jack Webb (1923-2019), London. In 1842 Franz Winterhalter was asked to paint Queen Victoria's portrait, as well as a companion piece depicting Prince Albert. They were the first of many works to be commissioned from the artist, and the finished paintings were hung on the walls of the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle, where they hang still. The portrait of Victoria proved to be one of the most popular and reproduced images of her, and many replicas were produced for relatives, other sovereigns, organisations, and institutional buildings, some executed by Winterhalter and his studio, others by various artists. Indeed, almost immediately Winterhalter was asked to paint copies for presentation to King Louis-Philippe of France, who installed them in the Musée du Roi at Versailles where they remain today. This second version of the Queen is markedly different from the first, depicting a more elegant and formal sovereign, wearing the Order of the Garter, amongst other additional details. In the mid 1850s copies of Winterhalter's pair of paintings arrived at Government House in Melbourne, that of the Queen being based on Winterhalter's second version of the sovereign. The fact that the present work also echoes version two, and the presence of the Melbourne-produced period frame would indicate that it is a high quality copy of the Melbourne portrait. Certainly it is known that one copy was made - for Government House in Sydney - and the current work was likely commissioned for another official building or important personage. Richard Foster Norton - gilder, carver, frame maker and print seller - was active between 1855 and 1865, and was known to be working at 83 Collins Street East between 1857 and 1861, suggesting that the painting was made fairly soon after the arrival in Melbourne of the first pair. Russian-born artist Nicholas Chevalier is one of the very few artists working in Melbourne at the time who was capable of producing a work of this quality, and who already had close connections with the British royal family. He studied painting and architecture in Switzerland and Munich, and in 1851 he travelled to London to see the Great Exhibition, where he trained as a lithographer and exhibited at the Royal Academy. His first association with royalty appears to have been at this time, when he designed the setting for the Koh-i-Noor diamond and was commissioned to design a fountain for the grounds of Osborne House. After studying for a time in Rome he sailed to Australia, arriving in Melbourne in February 1855. His work there as an artist was numerous and varied: amongst other things he worked as a commercial illustrator, was instrumental in founding the Victorian Society of Fine Arts, had his oil painting 'The Buffalo Ranges, Victoria' chosen as the first Australian work of art to be purchased for the National Gallery of Victoria in 1865, and later, after settling in London in 1870, worked for the London Selection Committee of the Art Gallery of NSW, assigned to purchase watercolours by living British artists. When Queen Victoria’s second son, the Duke of Edinburgh, arrived in Melbourne in 1867 as part of his world tour, Chevalier accompanied the royal party as correspondent for The Illustrated Australian News . He was subsequently invited to join the Duke’s entourage for the voyage back to England, documenting the journey with sketches and watercolours which were exhibited at the Crystal Palace and at the South Kensington Museum in 1872. On his return to England his association with the royal family strengthened, and he received numerous commissions, including that from Queen Victoria in January 1874 to go to Petersburg and document in paint the marriage of the Duke of Edinburgh. Chevalier's work demonstrates a versatility of technique and subject matter, from the execution of small-scale cartoons and landscape watercolours, to the production of large portraits in oils. A comparison with the portrait of 'Dr Maund' in the National Gallery of Victoria, painted in 1863, shows a similarity in the delicacy of the brushwork to delineate, for instance, the eyebrows and other fine details, as well as a similar use of bodycolour to produce subtle highlights to eyes, nails, jewellery, and other details. Chevalier seems to have favoured setting his subjects in sharp relief against a dark background, which he did when painting his own self-portrait, and thus would perhaps have been a natural choice to reproduce a picture in which a dark backdrop was dictated and the subject must shine. ( Franz Xaver Winterhalter , Richard Ormond and Carol Blackett-Ord, National Portrait Gallery, 1987, p.190).