L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Two miniatures of Princess Alice by Eduardo de Moira, 1860

Both watercolor on ivory, both approximately 9x6 inches.
This was the first version of the miniature; Prince Albert didn't think it quite good enough, so another was done.  The original only entered the
Royal Collection in 1880, after the deaths of both Prince Albert and Princess Alice.

Princess Alice of the United Kingdom (April 25, 1843, London – December 14, 1878, Darmstadt), born Alice Maud Mary, later Princess Louis and Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine, was the third child and second daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Always known as the caregiver of the family, in 1861 she nursed her father through his fatal illness and, afterward, was her mother's constant attendant during the first six months of the queen's intense mourning.  Already engaged before her father's death, she married the next year.  She and Prince Louis of Hesse had seven children, two of whom predeceased her.  Sadly, like her mother, she was a carrier of the hemophilia gene; her youngest son died as a result of the condition, and two of her daughters - most famously, her youngest surviving daughter, the future Empress Alexandra of Russia - had hemophiliac sons.  Very intelligent and well-educated, she was quite advanced in her thinking, especially in the areas of religion, medicine, and women's rights.  Though constantly busy with her royal duties, founding hospitals and schools, supporting charities, she was never popular in her adopted home; the intellectual grand duchess was ahead of her time in many ways, and the conservative Hessians seemed to resent it.

In November of 1878 most of the members of her immediate family fell ill with diphtheria.  She nursed them all, but her youngest child, Marie, died.  By the middle of the next month it seemed as though the crisis had passed, but then Alice herself became ill.  On the seventeenth anniversary of the death of her father, December 14th, Alice died.  She was only thirty-five.


Eduardo de Moira (18171887), Portuguese artist.  Princess Alice sat for the painter in January of 1860; she would have been sixteen at the time.

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