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Title: The public image of Queen Victoria, 1837-1861 : wife, mother, and queen regnant
Author: Poulson, Ann
ISNI:       0000 0004 7659 8862
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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Upon her accession in 1837, Victoria became the young, female queen of a male-dominated society in which women had few rights, and the head of a nation that had long been stripping its monarch of the ability to rule as well as reign. Until her widowhood in 1861, the Queen faced the task of reconciling her roles as sovereign queen, or 'female king', and emblem of mid-nineteenth century 'true womanhood'. In this thesis I argue that authorized representations of the Queen proved a versatile and effective vehicle for the negotiation of her public image. I further suggest a method of interpreting her portraits that will take into account both of these themes that ran through her pictorial representation, fully placing her not only within the traditions of monarchical portraiture, but also within the context of her contemporaries. A wide range of media is examined, and particular attention is paid to the touring, engraving, and dissemination of these images, which gave the depictions of the Queen a reach and impact that was unprecedented. While many of the explorations of Victoria's portraits that have preceded this thesis have shed light on the monarchical legacy, or have unpacked individual pictures, this thesis delves into the context in which her representations were created. Detailed comparisons with portraits of wealthy and aristocratic women show how deeply Victoria's representations were shaped by the conventions of female portraiture, allowing the Queen to align herself with the middle classes while at the same time maintaining enough of a distance to keep her sovereignty foremost. This aided in winning the hearts of her people, and in the solidification of her throne during times of trouble for many royal houses.
Supervisor: Jordanova, Ludmilla Jane ; Readman, Paul Andrew Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available