The Passing of a Great Queen

William Lionel Wyllie: The Passing of a Great Queen (c) Walker Art Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Queen Victoria’s funeral was held 120 years ago today.

ChasingART is commemorating this event with a painting by William Wyllie that depicts the scene of the royal yacht, HMY Alberta, bringing Queen Victoria’s body to Gosport the afternoon of February 1, 1901.

The golden lights of the late afternoon sun as it begins it’s slow descent is a profound symbol of the end of an age. The suite of yachts following the HMY Alberta, conveying the new King, herald the beginning of a new age of opportunities.

Queen Victoria has three requests:

That there would be no black cloaks, drapes or canopies. Instead she asked for a white pall for her coffin.

That she would be buried as “a soldier’s daughter.”

That there be no public lying in state.

Queen Victoria was clothed in a white dress and a wedding veil. By her side was a dressing gown that belonged to her husband Albert, along with a plaster cast of his hand. On the other side, hidden from family view, was a lock of John Brown’s hair, along with his photo.

While there are photos of the gun carriage procession from Waterloo Station to Paddington Station, it is the painting, “The Passing of a Great Queen, by William Wyllie, that energized the moment of Queen Victoria’s final farewell.

We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat; they do not exist.” Queen Victoria