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Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Princess Elizabeth of Hesse, later Grand Duchess Serge of Russia (1864-1918)


Creator: Reginald Easton (1807-93) (artist)
Creation Date: 
Inscribed 1868
Materials and techniques: 
Watercolour on ivory laid on card
8.3 x 7.2 cm
Vic Min 295
Cust 1910 41/5
Commissioned by Queen Victoria in 1868

Reginald Easton, a watercolourist and miniature painter, became particularly well known among aristocratic circles for his miniature portraits of children. He was first recommended to Queen Victoria by her daughter, Princess Helena. Princess Elizabeth of Hesse, Queen Victoria's granddaughter, is shown here aged three years. Princess Elizabeth was the second daughter of Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse, and Princess Alice, third child of Queen Victoria. In 1884 she married Grand Duke Serge of Russia, son of Tsar Alexander II. After her husband's assassination in 1905, she founded a convent and dedicated her life to helping the poor of Moscow as a nun. She was arrested by the Bolsheviks in 1918 and later that year she was thrown alive down a mineshaft with several other prisoners. After her death her remains were recovered and she was buried in the Orhodox Church of St Mary Magdelene in Jerusalem. She was canonised by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1992.

Inscribed on the reverse in ink, probably by Queen Victoria: Princess / Elizabeth / of Hesse b / Nov: 1– 1864 / 2d daughter of / P  rce. Louis of Hesse / & P cess Alice of / Gt. Britain & Ireland / painted by / R. Easton / July 1868.

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