Painting by Sir William Beechey, Engraving by S W Reynolds, 1831
Dimensions: 84cm x 56cm
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Queen Adelaide came to Bentley Priory when she was a widow in her mid-50s, but this portrait shows her as a younger lady. At the time of this portrait, Adelaide was in her first year of being Queen, alongside her husband King William IV. They reigned from 1830 to 1837, when King William died and his niece, Queen Victoria, inherited the throne.
This black and white engraving of Queen Adelaide shows a white lady, in her late thirties, standing in a room by a window looking straight at the viewer. She is wearing a floor length dress made of a dark material, which has a slight sheen and is possibly velvet. Her sleeves are made of lace and in contrast to the dress, they are a light colour. She has her hair elaborately styled so that her face is framed with tightly curled sections of hair, with the rest arranged on top of her head in a bow shape. She has a headband made of pearls and a long lace veil at the back of her head. She is holding part of the veil in her left hand, which is down by her side. Her wedding ring on her left hand is displayed in the portrait, its inclusion highlighting that she was Queen by marriage, not by birth. In her right hand she is holding a small posy of flowers. The room Queen Adelaide is standing in is simply decorated with dark tasselled material draped behind her. There are curtains pulled aside around the window showing trees and a tall, stone building in the background. In the bottom left hand corner of the picture there is a large vase with some flowers in. The vase is inscribed with Adelaide’s royal monogram – “AR”, meaning “Adelaide Regina”, or “Queen Adelaide”.
Following Queen Victoria’s accession to the throne, Queen Adelaide became a Dowager Queen – this is the name given to a queen who was married to the previous monarch but is not the mother of the current monarch.