Franz Xaver Winterhalter was a portraitist and history painter who became a favourite of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Born in Baden-Württemberg, he was patronised by Grand Duke Leopold before settling in Paris in 1834. Here his sitters included not only King Louis Philippe of France, but also the Belgian King Leopold I who was Queen Victoria’s uncle. Leopold and his wife recommended Winterhalter to the young British queen, who invited the artist to her court after her marriage to Prince Albert. Winterhalter went on to paint around 120 portraits for the royal couple, and later became chief portraitist to the French court of Napoleon III. Although his idealised style and dark tones were criticised by some, Queen Victoria praised the ‘light and life and animation’ of his works.