Favourites, the Property of H.R.H. Prince George of Cambridge Edwin Henry Landseer Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Favourites, the Property of H.R.H. Prince George of Cambridge is an oil painting by the Victorian artist, Sir Edwin Henry Landseer (1802-1872). Painted on canvas the work is sizeable measuring 40 x 49.5 inches or 101.6 x 125.7 centimetres.

The composition features the Favourites or pets of Prince George, who was aged about sixteen years old at the time the work was commissioned. Featuring the grey stone walls of what appears to be an inner courtyard at Windsor Castle, a white Arabian horse called Selim takes centre stage. Selim appears in profile with a gleaming coat, flaxen mane and tail. He stands, saddled and bridled ready to go, with head bowed. The bridle is in the traditional Arabian style without a noseband to set off the horse’s dished face.

A black and white Newfoundland dog, Nelson, stands facing the horse at a right angle. Nelson's head is under Selim’s arched neck. His gaze is tilted slightly upwards towards the horse’s muzzle. This handsome dog's amber eyes are alert. Nelson has an important job to do, holding as he does both the horse’s reins and the Prince’s riding crop in his mouth. Sitting on the lowest curved stone step with her back to the viewer is a small spaniel named Flora. She faces Nelson and Selim. Above her head is a large dark bag slung over the stone balustrade pillar as the stairs turn upwards.

At the top of the steps is a large wooden door to the left, next to a mullioned window. To the right is a stone balustrade off which a rust-coloured tapestry or carpet hangs. On this perch three hooded falcons. The scene suggests the animals and birds are waiting for their owner to come down the steps to go out hunting together.

H.R.H. Prince George of Cambridge was a grandchild of George III, and nephew of the then King, William IV and his wife Queen Adelaide who had no children of their own. At the time of the painting, the Prince spent much time at Windsor with the King and Queen. His father lived abroad acting as the King’s Viceroy in the German state of Hanover. The original painting is in the Paul Mellon Collection at the Yale Center for British Art in the United States of America. In 1841 it was the subject of an engraving by William Giller.