In 1895 artist Gordon Coutts was commissioned by Elizabeth Harding (Mrs. Silas Harding), a wealthy pastoralist, to paint this portrait of Prince Albert. The portrait was completed by 1896 and is a copy of an original by German artist Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-1873).
In 1843 Winterhalter was commissioned to paint matching portraits of Queen Victoria and Albert, the Prince Consort. These originals hang in the Garter Throne Room at Windsor Castle and are part of the UK Royal Collection. Queen Victoria’s appreciation of Winterhalter began after she saw portraits by him of other European monarchs. Accordingly, between 1842 and 1861 he made fifteen visits to England and painted over 100 portraits of Her Majesty, the royal family and other friends and dignitaries.
There are a number of notable differences in the original Winterhalter work and this painting. The local artist Coutts has changed the colour of the Prince’s cloak from deep blue/black to red (perhaps as a result of working from a black and white photograph). Other differences include extra satin shoulder ribbons, a simplification of the furnishings, notably the floor, and an inexact representation of the medallions worn; collars of the Order of the Garter, Bath, and the Golden Fleece. The painting is framed to match the official copy portrait of Queen Victoria, with the coat of arms of Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, fixed atop the frame in place of the royal crown.
Framed portrait, oil on cotton, of Prince Albert. The Prince Consort wears the robes of the Order of the Garter, holds a Field-Marshal’s baton, and is posed in front of a curtain and colonnade.
Timber frame with a layer of gesso and decorative composition ornaments. There are rose, scotch thistle, clover leaf and Acanthus ornaments. The coat of arms that sits on top of the frame is a combination of carved timber and composition elements.
Inscriptions & markings
Signed lower right corner in red brushpoint: ‘after Winterhalter / By Gordon Coutts / 1896’.