Queen Victoria sat to Alexander Brodie at Balmoral in 1865 and 1866. He had been asked to produce a statue (now at Aberdeen City Chambers) and this bust. The queen wanted the results to look distinctly Scottish, so Brodie included a thistle on the neckline of her dress, alongside the English rose and Irish clover. Brodie was a perfectionist, and his anxiety over this commission is thought to have been a factor in his suicide, aged thirty-seven, in 1867. William, his elder brother, finished the bust.