Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Winterhalter, Franz Xaver

The First of May 1851
Oil on canvas, 107 x 130 cm
Royal Collection, Windsor

German painter (1805 - 1873)
This picture shows the Duke of Wellington offering a gift to Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and Prince Arthur, in a scene resembling the Adoration of the Magi.
The painting was commissioned by Queen Victoria to commemorate the 1st of May 1851, which held a threefold significance: it was the first birthday of Prince Arthur, the eighty-second birthday of prince's godfather the Duke of Wellington, and the opening day of the Great Exhibition. Prince Arthur holds Lily-of-the-valley, a traditional 1st of May gift said to bring good luck. The Crystal Palace can be seen in the background.