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Victoria portrait comes home to Keighley's Cliffe Castle Museum
8:00am Monday 12th August 2013 in Keighley
A rare portrait of Queen Victoria has returned “home” to go on display at Keighley’s recently refurbished Cliffe Castle Museum.
The painting, by portraitist and Christian socialist Lowes Cato Dickinson, is one of very few images depicting the Queen during the early years of her widowhood.
And there are several references to her husband, Prince Albert, who died in 1861 – his handkerchief is laid on her knee, she is wearing his portrait miniature on her wrist and her veil is held in place by a sapphire and diamond coronet designed by him.
The painting was bought by textile magnate Henry Isaac Butterfield in the 1880s, but was thought to have been lost when the contents of the castle were sold, prior to it being turned into a museum and art gallery in 1959.
Museum staff searched for the portrait for more than 20 years, and research showed it had been removed to Thoresby Hall in Nottinghamshire, where it decorated the servants’ hall refreshment room.
It was put into storage in the 1980s and later sold to an antique dealer in Nottinghamshire. A member of the museum staff spotted the painting earlier this year during a chance visit to the antique centre and recognised it.
Coun Susan Hinchcliffe, Bradford Council’s executive member for culture, said: “The finding of this lost painting is part of Cliffe Castle’s ambition to repatriate objects from the Victorian heyday of the building.”
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