Count Victor Gleichen, portrait sculpture photographs

Scope and Content

The material held relating to Count Gleichen consists 97 photographs mounted on card depicting sculptures by Gleichen. Information on the sculpture, including sitter, is printed on the bottom of the photographs. Many of the mounts contain pencil annotations detailing the Courtauld Neg number and some contain annotations detailing who the sculpture was executed for, it is unknown when these annotations were made or by whom. Also included are 10 loose photographs of sculptures by Gleichen, some of which have annotations on them detailing who the sculptures are of and the Courtald Neg number. Two of the loose photographs document a sculpture by Gleichen of a eagle, the rest are of people.

Administrative / Biographical History

Victor, prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg [known as Count Gleichen] (1833-1891) was the youngest son of Prince Ernst of Hohenlohe-Langenburg and his wife Princess Fedore who was the elder half sister of Queen Victoria. He was sent to school at Dresden, from which he ran away. In 1848 through the interest of Queen Victoria he entered the British navy as a midshipman on the Powerful. He later served as aide-de-camp to Sir Harry Keppel and took part in the battle of the Chernaya and was distinguished for his bravery under fire.

In 1856 he was appointed flag lieutenant to Sir Harry Keppel in China; he took a prominent role in the fighting and was recommended for the Victoria Cross. Repeated illness forced him to retire from the navy on half pay in 1866. He was created KCB in January 1866 and appointed by the queen to be governor and constable of Windsor Castle. He had married in 1861 Laura Williamina, the youngest daughter of Admiral Sir George Francis Seymour, who he had served under at the beginning of his career in the navy. By an old German law Prince Victor's wife was disqualified from using her husband's title as she was not of equal rank – Prince Victor assumed the title of Count Gleichen by which he was known for many years. Count Gleichen and his wife would have four children.

Following his retirement from the navy Count Gleichen embarked on an artistic career for which he had considerable talent. Being fond of modelling he studied for three years under William Theed and when a bank failure saw him loose his fortune he turned to sculpture as a serious profession. Queen Victoria granted him a suite of apartments in St James' Palace where he set up a studio. He made several imaginative groups as well as monuments and portrait busts. Some of his successes include busts of the marquess of Salisbury and Sir Harry Keppel and a colossal statue of Alfred the Great, made for the town square of Wantage. His success as a sculptor allowed him to build a small house near Ascot. In 1885 Queen Victoria allowed Count and Countess Gleichen to revert to the names of Prince and Princess Victor Hohenlohe-Langenburg. In 1887 he was promoted to GCB and admiral on the retired list. He died at St James' Palace on 31 December 1891 and was survived by his children, one of whom Lady Feodora Gleichen also became a sculptor.

This biographical description is largely based on L. H. Cust, 'Victor, prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg [Count Gleichen] (1833–1891)', rev. Andrew Lambert, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [ , accessed 9 May 2017]

Access Information

Available to view by appointment in the Heinz Archive and Library Public Study Room, to make an appointment contact Archive Reception . Although records are generally available for public consultation, some information in them, such as personal data or information supplied to the Gallery in confidence, may be restricted.

Conditions Governing Use

Personal photography is permitted for research purposes only. Photocopying is not permitted.