Buckingham Palace, London, England
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A full-length study of the dress worn by the Princess of Wales for the marriage of the Grand Duchess Maria to Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh; dated and inscribed in pencil: Dress worn by H.R.H. the Princess of Wales 23 Jan. 1874; with numerous other notes.
In this evocative study, the sumptuous white brocaded silk of Princess Alexandra’s court dress and the rich crimson velvet of her overskirt, woven with gold embroidery, are minutely described by Chevalier. In the finished work (RCIN 404476), for which this is one of several studies, the Princess of Wales stands next to her sister, Maria Feodorovna, but the accurate details of dress and jewels seen in this study and its two companions (RCIN 926237, 926238) were not translated by the artist into the painting of the marriage of Prince Alfred and Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna.
Chevalier has taken delight in painting and noting the jewels worn by Princess Alexandra, which include a diamond tiara, a diamond collet necklace on a velvet band, several further diamond collet necklaces, a pearl and diamond necklace, a pearl and diamond brooch, the broad riband, star and badge of the Order of St Catherine, and family orders. The tiara, brooch and pearl and diamond necklace are from the parure of wedding jewellery made by R. & S. Garrard & Co., and given by Albert Edward, Prince of Wales to his bride on their marriage in 1863. While Queen Alexandra’s jewels have largely remained in the ownership of the royal family, and many of them are worn by Her Majesty The Queen today, a large proportion of her wardrobe was dispersed and sold after the death of her unmarried daughter, Princess Victoria. This sketch, together with a large number of photographs in the Royal Collection, provides a valuable record of her uniquely fashionable taste.
Text adapted from Russia, Royalty & the Romanovs, London, 2018
Alternate title: 'Full-length study of dress worn by the Princess of Wales (1844–1925), with details of jewellery and orders'
Descriptive Medium: 'Pencil, watercolour, bodycolour and silver paint with scraping out', 'pencil, bodycolour, silver paint', 'watercolour painting, scraped out'