London Art@Site Queen Victoria Princess Louise

Queen Victoria


Princess Louise

Kensington Gardens
Louise was the most artistically talented of Queen Victoria's daughters. As well as being an able actress, pianist and dancer, she was a prolific artist and sculptor. When Louise sculpted a statue of the Queen, portraying her in Coronation robes, the press claimed that her tutor, Sir Edgar Boehm, was the true creator of the work. The claim was denied by Louise's friends, who asserted her effort and independence. A memorial to her brother-in-law,Prince Henry of Battenberg, and a memorial to the Colonial soldiers who fell during the Boer War, reside at Whippingham Church on the Isle of Wight, and another statue of Queen Victoria remains at McGill University in Montreal.

'After being taught modelling by Mary Thornycroft, the princess enrolled at the National Art Training School, Kensington, in 1868 but her duties as the queen's social secretary prevented regular attendance. Much of her subsequent artistic progress came through her association with the portrait sculptor Joseph Edgar Boehm..

...The later 1870s and 1880s witnessed the princess's extensive involvement with the art world. She exhibited at the Royal Academy, the Society of Painters in Watercolour, and the Grosvenor Gallery. Her avant-garde tastes were evident in her admiration of James Whistler and her commission of Edward Godwin to design her studio at Kensington Palace. Louise's presence in Boehm's studio at the time of his sudden death in December 1890 provoked press gossip and subsequent, unsubstantiated speculation upon their possible sexual relationship. Boehm and Alfred Gilbert had assisted Louise with her best-known sculpture, the seated marble statue of Queen Victoria (1890–93; Kensington Gardens, London), a conscientious if vapid work. Another portrait statue of Queen Victoria is at McGill University, Montreal (1890). More innovative are two near-identical memorials reflecting Louise's admiration of Gilbert: Prince Henry of Battenberg (1897; Whippingham church, Isle of Wight) and the South African War ‘colonial soldiers’ memorial (1904; St Paul's Cathedral, London).' [ODNB]
She was one of the female sculptors that the Royal Society of British Sculptors felt might be included in the 1908 Franco-British exhibition [13 January 1908, Royal Society of British Sculptors: Minutes of Council Meetings, no.I].