De László spent seven weeks in the spring of 1927 staying at the Royal Palace in Madrid, where he completed thirteen portraits of King Alfonso XIII, his consort Queen Victoria Eugenia, and their children. In this preparatory oil sketch the Queen is depicted in traditional formal dress, worn for official ceremonies and religious events. It references Francisco Goya’s portrait of Doña Isabel de Porcel, which de László would have seen, having been acquired by the National Gallery, London, in 1896. The finished portrait, the artist’s fifth of the sitter, is now in the collection of the Prado Museum, Madrid.
De László often formed close friendships with his sitters and recalled his time in Madrid fondly: “The Queen spent hours and hours in my studio and discussed art with the competence of an aesthete. Life in the Palace is infinitely pleasant and harmonious. I worked for five to six hours a day, and, before I left, at the request of the Royal Family, I organised an exhibition of the twenty-three paintings I made during the trip, an exhibition at the Palacio de Biblioteca y Museos. The Queen and Queen Mother came personally to open the private view.”
Princess Victoria Eugenia (1887-1969) - ‘Ena’ - was the youngest granddaughter of Queen Victoria, the only daughter of Prince Henry of Battenberg and his wife, Princess Beatrice. She married King Alfonso XIII in 1906. Their great-grandson is King Felipe VI of Spain.
We are grateful to Katherine Field for writing the catalogue entry for this portrait, which will be included in the Philip de László catalogue raisonné, currently presented in progress online: www.delaszlocatalogueraisonne.com
The Hon. Mrs de Laszlo and a team of editors are compiling the catalogue raisonné of the artist’s entire oeuvre. Katherine Field is the British and North American Editor. Please see www.delaszloarchivetrust.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to offer any contribution.