Between 1861 and 1873, E.C. Middleton of Cincinnati published a series oval “oil portraits,” intended to have the appearance of oil paintings. This series consisted of images of at least seventeen different subjects, including thirteen “Portraits of American Statesmen and Heroes,” two religious figures, and two British royalty. For many of these subjects there are variant issues of the prints. Images of the portraits are shown below.
In 1866, Middleton produced a pair of portraits of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. These are neither portraits of “Great National Characters” nor are they of religious figures who were of interest to many Americans at the time. It is not at all clear why in 1866 Middleton chose to produce portraits of the British royal couple, especially as Albert had died five years previously in December 1861. 1866 was the year in which Queen Victoria came out of mourning seclusion in order to open Parliament, one of her first public appearances after Albert’s death. Perhaps this might have created enough public interest in Victoria and Albert that Middleton thought his prints would find a market. However, there does not seem to have been that much of a market, for the prints are perhaps the rarest of all the Middleton portraits.
As far as we have seen in our research, there is only one version of this print.