Visit of Queen Victoria to the Queen’s Hamlet at the Petit Trianon on 21 August 1855 by Karl Girardet
This small painting by Karl Girardet is the first sketch for a watercolour commissioned by Queen Victoria in 1855 and which is still in the British royal collections. It commemorates the visit of the Queen and Prince Albert, accompanied by the imperial couple, to Trianon on Tuesday 21 August 1855 during the British sovereign’s stay in Paris.
The two sovereigns can be clearly identified in an open carriage stopped in front of the house of Marie-Antoinette, while the Emperor and the Prince Consort are on horseback on either side of it. The escort is made up by Cent-Gardes and postilions of the Emperor’s Household in full dress uniform. Under the gallery linking the Queen’s House to the Billiards House is the band of the Guides of the Imperial Guard who played during the lunch taken by the two couples.
Old paintings of the Hamlet of Trianon are quite rare. The Palace of Versailles held two views of the Mill and the Queen’s House with the Marlborough Tower from the studio of Guérard and Wallaert, dating from the Restoration, and a view of The Interior of the Queen’s Theatre during the July Monarchy by Mme Asselineau, but none dating from the Second Empire, the period of the renaissance of Trianon, spearheaded by the Empress Eugénie. The new acquisition will fill this gap with a work that will take its rightful place in the attic of the Petit Trianon in the section dedicated to the Second Empire and the Empress.