Victoria Regina, by Henry Tanworth Wells, 1880 and 1887

Victoria Regina, by Henry Tanworth Wells, 1880

Henry Tanworth Wells (British, 1828 – 1903) completed this painting in 1880. In Kensington Palace, 20 June 1837, Victoria learns that she has become queen of England. She wrote about this moment in her journal:

“I was awoke at 6 o’clock by Mamma who told me that the Archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Conyngham were here and wished to see me. I got out of bed and went into my sitting room (only in my dressing gown) and alone, and saw them. Lord Conyngham (the Lord Chamberlain) then acquainted me that my poor Uncle, the King, was no more, and had expired at 12 minutes past 2 this morning and consequently that I am Queen.”

Wells painted two versions of this scene, and both were popular during Queen Victoria’s reign. The first work, in oil paint on canvas, measures 2451 x 1918 mm, and it is held by Tate, London, United Kingdom.

Wells completed a second version in 1887. This oil-on-canvas work is called Victoria Regina: Queen Victoria Receiving the News of Her Accession, and it is held by The Royal Collection Trust, United Kingdom.

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