CL 203 ‘England’s Queen’- CL 204 and CL 205 ‘His Royal Highness Prince Albert’ and also the book ‘England's Queen, and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha’ by Harrison Corbett Wilson

CL 203 - England's Queen and CL 204 - Prince Albert in a beautifully tooled leather double hinged frame

CL 203 England’s Queen – or sometimes also known as ‘Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen’ was published in 1848. This print and it’s companion CL 204 are probably (with the exception of the unusual one-off signature on The Opening of Parliament CL. 131) the first prints to be signed by Baxter.  The signature is on one of the squares of the floor: "Baxter's Patent Oil Printing, 11, Northampton Sq." 

It is most probably also one of the earliest prints to be found on a Red Seal Mount which Baxter appears to have introduced around 1849/50. It is stated that the early prints would have been on Blue Lined Mounts which does tie in with other prints he sold mounted in this way from about that period. The signature and Red Seal all go to show Baxter establishing his ‘Mark’ on all his work and was most probably brought about by the fact that when his patent was renewed in 1849 he was advised to sell licenses to use his process and wanted to set his own work apart from the rest.

Her Majesty stands on a balcony with Windsor Castle and the River Thames seen in the distance.  It can be found as an illustration on the outer box of sets of needle-boxes, and then it is stated "the portrait on the lid of the box represents Her Majesty Queen Victoria, in the dress and robes of the Order of the Garter worn at the Christening of the Prince of Wales”.
 

This print was very popular, in an advert in the Art Journal Advertiser for January 1852 Baxter stated that “Upwards of 500,000 of each” had been sold.
 

Courtney Lewis states that the sky is different in nearly every print, I think that might be a slight exaggeration but if it sold anywhere near the amount that Southgate & Barrett state it is very likely that, to cope with the demand, there were more than one set of colour blocks being used at any one time, although I feel all prints would have come from the same engraved steel plate, the colour blocks being a lot easier to replicate than the key plate.
 

The print was also sold in batches to De La Rue who used them on the outside of the packets of "The Queen's Papeterie," of which I have only even seen a couple of copies. This may have tied in with Baxter producing CL 206 Her Majesty Queen Victoria specifically for that company in 1850. That print actually states “Published by De La Rue” in the body of the print and is a smaller than CL 203.
 

There is no lettering on the plate but as its companion had plate lettering initially which was removed when the plate was amended shortly after publication. Could this plate’s lettering have also been removed at the same time? It was produced from the steel plate and thirteen blocks and was originally sold for 2s. 

Issued in various states:

  • Blue Line Mount with Square top

  • On a Blue line Mount with Square top in the book “England's Queen, and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha”

  • RSM, Gold Border and Dome Top.

  • RSM, Gold Border and Square Top.

  • RSM, without Gold Border, and Dome Top.

  • RSM, without Gold Border, and Square Top.

  • Stamped Mount, Gold Border and Dome Top.

  • Stamped Mount, Gold Border and Square Top.

  • Stamped Mount, without Gold Border, and Dome Top.

  • Stamped Mount, without Gold Border, and Square Top.

  • Unmounted, with and without title and marginal lettering.

  • On The Queen's Papeterie – prepared and published by De La Rue

CL203 - England's Queen on a Red Seal Mount (RSM) the red seal can be seen in the left hand corner of the mount, with a gold border and domed top

CL 204 His Royal Highness Prince Albert.
 

Again this print and No. 203 are probably (with the exception of the unusual one-off signature on The Opening of Parliament CL. 131) the first prints to be signed by Baxter.  The signature is on the marble floor, "Baxter's Patent Oil Printing, 11, Northampton Square."

The Prince stands on a balcony near Windsor and is wearing Prussian blue breeches and hence why the print is usually known as Albert ‘blue breeches’. Shortly after its publication the plate was amended to white breeches with long black boots and then showing an order hanging from his collar, most probably altered 1849/50, supposedly at the request of Prince Albert. This amended plate is CL 205 with the same title.

Unlike the print of England’s Queen which has no lettering this plate has, unusually, above the print in the plate margin, the above title (he was not "the Prince Consort" until 1857) and under the print,  "Designed, Engraved, Printed and Published by G.  Baxter, Patentee, 11, Northampton Square, October 2nd, 1848."

This print was published in the book and sold separately on Blue Lined Mounts but was amended to CL 205 before Baxter started to use is Stamped and Red Seal mounts.

Both prints were among those produced to the Privy Council at the trial for the renewal of Baxter’s Patent in 1849, and, except for the pocket-book illustrations, were the first of his prints to bring Baxter a profit.

 

Issued in various states:

  • Blue Line Mount with Square top

  • On a Blue Line Mount with Square top in the book “England's Queen, and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha”

  • Unmounted

CL 205 His Royal Highness Prince Albert.

To the left CL 204 and to the right CL 205 - this example of 205 has been trimmed to the top (at the time of issue) but this seems to be quite common on this print

As mentioned above the plate for CL 204, with the same title, was altered to this print, the signature is now on the left of the marble floor instead of the right, and states "Printed in Oil Colours by G.  Baxter, Patentee, XI.  Northampton Square." The Prince now wears cream buckskin breeches and top boots, instead of blue trousers as in the other print and an order is suspended from his neck. In this form it is never in the book but the Centenary Baxter book of 1936 states that it can still be found on a Blue Lined Mount. I have never seen a copy and if issued in such a state it would have been only for a very short period before he moved to his Red Seal and Embossed Mounts.

This print was very popular, in an advert in the Art Journal Advertiser for January 1852 Baxter stated that “Upwards of 500,000” had been sold.
 

It is from a plate and twelve blocks, and originally sold at 2s. 
 

Courtney Lewis states this was published in 1850 but, as noted under the details for the book, as the plate lettering had been removed when the plate was altered this could have easily been the year earlier.  
                                     

On some stamp mounts you can find "Hiohness" instead of "Highness".
 

Issued in various states:

  • Blue Line Mount.

  • RSM, Gold Border and Dome Top.

  • RSM, Gold Border and Square Top.

  • RSM, without Gold Border, and Dome Top.

  • RSM, without Gold Border, and Square Top.

  • Stamped Mount, Gold Border and Dome Top.

  • Stamped Mount, Gold Border and Square Top.

  • Stamped Mount, without Gold Border, and Dome Top.

  • Stamped Mount, without Gold Border, and Square Top.

  • Unmounted, with title and marginal lettering.

“England's Queen, and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha” by Harrison Corbett Wilson

Courtney Lewis has always stated that two prints should be included in the book - CL 203 England’s Queen, or Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen and CL 204 His Royal Highness Prince Albert.

I have a copy with just the one plate, England’s Queen which had no obvious signs of the print of Prince Albert having been removed.
 

Roger & Yvonne Smith wrote in the New Baxter Society newsletter of November 2019 that they had a similar book laid out as mine. They had noted two versions of the book as advertised in The Leamington Spa Courier on 2nd December 1848 for delivery later that month:
 

  • Larger (Quarto) version with “four splendid engravings of the Queen, Prince Albert, The Duke of Wellington and the author”

  • Smaller (Octavo) version with the two Baxter prints as called for.

Other editions can be found:

  • Larger (Quarto) version (as held by University of Toronto) with the two Baxter prints on large plain mounts with a blue lined border along with engravings of Wellington and the Author. The two Baxter prints can be viewed HERE and HERE

  • Smaller (Octavo) version (as per Roger & Yvonne’s and my copy) with just the one Baxter print with correspondingly smaller mount.

  • Smaller (Octavo) version with just black and white engravings: Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, England’s Hope (a young child), Flowers and The Mountain Stream (nothing to do with the Baxter print of the same title).
     

The size for this latter version is not given on line but comparing the gilt embossed cover proportions it is the same as mine, this version can be viewed HERE 

I have compared my copy with the latter book’s title page, list of subscribers and dedication etc. Although there is no date of publication on the title page, the text, date on dedication etc. are all exactly the same. I have only managed to compare the smaller editions and they all have a date of Feb 1849 on the dedication to the main volume. A small eight page work ‘England’s Hero’ about the Duke of Wellington is found at the back of each book. This has its own title page and is dated 1848.  

Within the list of subscriber’s names some are noted as ‘quarto’ so that confirms the contemporary advert and that you could have subscribed to either of the two different size versions of the same book from the outset.

So why did some of the smaller versions end up just having engravings or why did the volume with two Baxter prints end up with just the one?

I could argue that Baxter was very often late with his work and so they could have been published with other engravings initially but as Baxter most probably didn’t publish these prints specifically for this small run volume and went on to sell, supposedly, 500,000 copies of England’s Queen and the later version of Prince Albert that seems unlikely. H G Clarke in his book Baxter Colour Print states that later editions didn’t have the Baxter prints but we don’t know where he got this information and that contradicts the Dec 1848 advert.

The only thought I can offer regarding the inclusion of one or two Baxter prints in the volumes is that Baxter’s Prince Albert was published in Oct 1848 so in plenty of time to be included in the book when it first became available in the December. As stated above at some time shortly after Baxter altered the print to what we know as CL 205 with the same title, now Albert is seen in white trousers and black boots. Courtney Lewis states this later print was published in 1850 but as that plate is not dated we can’t be sure. All we do know is that this later print is a lot more common than the original. Perhaps Baxter, supposedly at the request of Prince Albert, altered the design of the print, or at least stopped printing the original version in 1849 and hence it was not available to include in some editions of Wilson’s book?

Anyone who collects books from this era knows that quite often they will be collated in a slightly different order depending on the binder but my copy and also the smaller version with both Baxter prints both carry the same binder’s label of Remnant and Edmonds of London, although, of course, they could have been bound a few months apart.