HRH Princess Charlotte

Henry Daniel Thielcke (1787-1874)


Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales (1796-1817)  was the only child of George IV and Caroline of Brunswick. Her parents separated very soon after her birth and, as a result, Charlotte was brought up by governesses and saw little of her parents especially her mother. She married Prince Léopold of Saxe-Coburg and tragically died in childbirth at the age of 21 causing a period of unprecedented mourning. Had she outlived her grandfather and father, Princess Charlotte would have become Queen of England.

Seated with her face in part profile before a crimson drape with a landscape view beyond, the Princess is wearing a blue high-waisted dress with a white underslip, a circular brooch on her corsage. Her diaphanous lace cap is tied with a satin ribbon bow under her chin.

The portrait is understood to be signed and dated under the mount bottom right – H. D. Thielcke Portrait Painter HRH Duchess of York 1818. The portrait is presented with a gilt metal mount within the original papier-mâché frame with a decorative surround and a large crown hanger. Given the date on the portrait, it must either have been completed after her death or was another version of an earlier portrait taken by him from life.

Another version of this miniature, also dated 1818 but without the brooch on her dress and unframed, was sold by Christie’s in 2007 (£4,000). Its provenance was recorded as ‘collection of George William Frederick Charles, 2nd Duke of Cambridge (1819-1904) in 1865; Christie’s, London 10 June 1904’. The miniature was also loaned by the Duke to the Special Exhibition of  Portrait Miniatures held at South Kensington Museum in 1865. Whether that was actually the version of the portrait sold by Christie’s or this version cannot be proved either way.

Henry Daniel Thielcke was born in London in 1788. He married Rebecca Piercy in 1820 when he was 31 and she was just 19 and moved with her to Scotland where they had a daughter. Around 1830 the family emigrated to Quebec where two more children were born. In later life the family moved to Chicago where Henry died at the age of 86. Miniatures by Thielcke are rarely seen as he appeared to favour large oil portraiture.

Item Ref. 6681

Size: framed, 218 x 193mm (8⅝ x 7⅝")

Literature: Schidlof, The Miniature in Europe, Vol. II p.813 ; Foskett, Miniatures, p.662