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    Description

    Charles van Meer (Belgian, 1810-1868)
    The larder, 1844
    Oil on panel
    19-5/8 x 14-5/8 inches (49.8 x 37.1 cm)
    Signed and dated lower right: Ch/ Van Meer / 1844
    Inscribed verso: PA (surmounted by a crown) / The Larder / C. Van Meer 1844
    Stamps verso: Queen's Personal Property VR [Victoria Regina]; Windsor Castle Collection, 1872, inv. no. 533

    PROPERTY FORMERLY IN THE COLLECTION OF QUEEN VICTORIA OF ENGLAND AND PRINCE ALBERT OF SAXE-COBURG AND GOTHA

    PROVENANCE:
    Collection of Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1819-1861), husband and consort of Queen Victoria of England (PA inscribed verso), gift of Queen Victoria, August 26, 1844;
    Collection of Queen Victoria of England, upon the death of Prince Albert in 1861-March 2, 1901 (her stamp verso);
    Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, London, third daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, to whom given March 2, 1901;
    Robert Finck Gallery, Brussels, Belgium, circa early 1960s;
    Private collection, acquired from the above, circa early 1960s;
    Thence by descent to the current owner.

    On Prince Albert's 25th birthday in 1844, his wife Queen Victoria of England presented him with this beautiful painting of a kitchen maid peeling apples by the Belgian artist Charles van Meer (1810-1868). The painting, entitled The larder, bears Albert's personal collector's mark, PA surmounted by a crown, on the reverse of the panel.

    Prince Albert was an avid art collector not only of historical but contemporary art, of which this work by van Meer, dated 1844, is a particularly fine example. Van Meer's paintings were prized for their meticulous craftsmanship, and the artist's ability to render the variety of textures on full display in the present panel. The painting has the quality of a Dutch 17th-century Golden Age effort. It is just as much a still life as it is a genre subject, with gleaming copper pots and a cornucopia of vegetables of every variety at the serene young woman's feet.

    As someone keenly sympathetic to the plight of the lower classes, and who in his official role as Consort instituted, for example, a pension plan for servants who previously would have been abandoned by the royal household in old age, Prince Albert was particularly fond of works of art depicting working class or domestic subjects. Van Meer's presentation of this young scullery maid with her fresh face and neat costume conveys a feeling of nobility of purpose, as though she's a queen in her own domain. The image must have been irresistible to Queen Victoria, knowing her husband's mind as she did.

    Following Albert's untimely death in 1861, the painting remained among the Queen's personal property (so indicated by another stamp on the reverse) until her own death in 1901, when it was given to Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein (Helena), Victoria and Albert's third daughter. The painting emerged on the art market during the 1960s, when it passed out of the hands of Princess Helena's family.

    We are grateful to Isabella Manning, Assistant to the Surveyor of The Queen's Pictures, Royal Collection Trust, St. James' Palace, London, for kindly providing the particulars of the royal provenance of this painting.




    Condition Report*: Paint film in very good condition. Under UV examination the only evidence of any conservation is along far perimeter of panel to address frame abrasion. Painting retains its old varnish. There is a very slight bow in the panel.
    Framed Dimensions 25.5 X 21 X 2.75 Inches
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2019
    7th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 25
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