Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014
Princess Beatrice (1857-1944)
From 1845 onward Sir William Ross had been employed by Queen Victoria to paint each of her children at the age of about five years old in a series of circular miniatures (420336-43). Soon after painting Prince Leopold in 1857, Ross was overcome by a paralytic stroke from which he never sufficiently recovered to paint again, and it was a measure of Queen Victoria’s confidence in Annie Dixon’s skills that she was commissioned to complete the set of the royal children with this miniature of Princess Beatrice.
Annie Dixon was born in Horncastle in 1817, and worked as a portrait miniaturist in Hull, the Isle of Wight and London until the last decade of the nineteenth century. From 1859, when she undertook her first royal commission (420351), she enjoyed great favour with Queen Victoria, partly on account of her skill in painting children, but also undoubtedly because of her pleasingly moderate prices. Her skill was sufficient for her to sustain a long and successful career in miniature painting at a time when many other practitioners suffered from the competition posed by the new art of photography.