Duke of Windsor by Dorothy Wilding
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Gelatin silver print mounted to period paper and board
Signed, in pencil, au mount recto
Studio stamp adhered and annotated "3531 A", in pencil, au mount verso
Provenance: Estate of Duke and Duchess of Windsor
Printed circa 1935
Dorothy Wilding (1893-1976) was an English “society” photographer. She operated studios in London and New York City. Her ability to produce relaxed yet poised portraits of important figures from English society resulted in Wilding being awarded the distinction of a royal warrant to act as the official photographer at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Wilding’s coronation portrait appears on the definitive postage stamps that bore the Queen’s likeness in various Commonwealth countries between 1952-1967.
Of the many society figures that sat for Dorothy Wilding’s camera, Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor, is among the most controversial. Prince Edward is remembered for abdicating from his position as King in 1936 so that he might marry his fiancée, Wallis Warfield Simpson, a twice-divorced American socialite.
This portrait of the Prince is from a sitting that took place in 1935. The pose of the subject suggests an intimacy between sitter and the print’s intended recipient, so it is probable that this photograph was a gift to Mrs. Simpson from the Duke. Impressively, and of interest to collectors of royal memorabilia, provenance for this print is The Estate of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
As shown in the second image, the print retains its original, unique presentation matting used by top-end portraitists of the day, and bears an impressive studio stamp on the reverse.
A selection of portraits made by Dorothy Wilding from the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, UK - National Portrait Gallery
Houston plays host to and exhibition of five centuries of British royal portraits - Lonely Planet, October 2018