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Saturday, September 12, 2015

Royal Record

Earlier this week Queen Elizabeth II became the longest-reigning British monarch, surpassing the 63 years and 216 day record of Queen Victoria. The Rosenbach brothers were alive during the reigns of both monarchs, although Dr. R died only five months after Elizabeth came to the throne and Philip died the following year. So as we wish the current queen good health and long life, this week's post recalls her long-lived great-great-grandmother.

Richard James Lane, portrait of Queen Victoria. 1837. 1954.0058  The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia. 
Richard James Lane produced this pencil and chalk drawing of the young Queen Victoria in the year of her accession (1837). Lane was a printmaker who did his first portrait of Victoria in 1829 and in 1837 he was made lithographer to the queen. He sold the copyright for this image to F.G. Moon, who published a stipple-engraved version by the engraver James Thompson in 1838.


Every time I see this book's mis-titled case on the shelf it throws me, because the contents are not Francis Hodgson Burnett's Little Princess, but Eliza Slater's Little Princes (only one "s" on Princes).

Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia

Mrs. John (Eliza) Slater, Little princes: Anecdotes of illustrious children of all ages and countries. London: Joseph Cundall, 1845. EL3 .S631l. Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia

The book is dedicated to Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later Edward VII), who was born in 1841, and offers “to bring before his infant mind the example of illustrious children of all ages and countries.” The volume’s moral lessons on patriotism, courage, filial love, princely bearing, religion, etc. are drawn from the childhoods of notables ranging from Alexander the Great to Kang Hi to Napoleon. The volume must have found favor with the royals for whom it was ostensibly intended, since this copy is inscribed by Queen Victoria to her cousin, the Comte de Paris.

Mrs. John (Eliza) Slater, Little princes: Anecdotes of illustrious children of all ages and countries. London: Joseph Cundall, 1845. EL3 .S631l. Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia


Jumping from the beginning to the end of Victoria's reign, our last item is this commemorative teacup from Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897. This item actually comes from the Marianne Moore collection, although I don't know how or when she acquired it.

Commemorative Diamond Jubilee teacup. Earthenware. England, 1897.2006.4337.002. Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia   

The teacup lauds Victoria as "Empress of India" and "Queen of an empire upon which the sun never sets." Queen Elizabeth may not be Empress of India (her mother was the last to hold that title) but as the popular website XKCD: What If points out, it is still true that the sun never sets on British territory, since the tiny Pitcairn Islands remain in daylight between midnight GMT, when the sun sets in the Cayman islands and 1 AM GMT when it rises over British Indian Ocean Territory.
 



Kathy Haas is the Associate Curator at the Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia and the primary poster at the Rosen-blog

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