Paintings Formerly in the Collection of Queen Victoria
Two paintings formerly in the Collection of Queen Victoria were returned to the Schlosshotel Kronberg.
AT A GLANCE...
1) School of Anthony van Dyck?
King Charles I in Three Positions
Oil on copper
Marking on back: V and crown is the cypher for Queen Victoria's daughter, Princess Victoria
2) Madonna and Child
Oil on Copper
Circumstances of Loss:
They were purchased by a U.S. Speical Services librarian while serving in Germay in late 1945.
The paintings were returned to Donatus Landgraf von Hessen in Kronberg at Castle Friedrichshof (today Schlosshotel Kronberg) during a ceremony in May 2015.
Discovery and Research
Following an appearance of Robert Edsel on the Glenn Beck Radio Show, the Foundation received dozens of phone calls including one concerning two paintings in the possession of heirs to Ms. Margaret Reeb. Numerous conversations with her heirs followed leading to detailed information about the paintings, including photos, and Ms. Reeb's purchase of them. Ms. Reeb bought the paintings in late 1945 while serving in Germany as part of the United States Special Services as a librarian.
In this instance, research into determining the rightful owners proved simple. Both paintings had been at Castle Friedrichshof (today known as the Schlosshotel Kronberg, just north of Frankfurt), which in April 1945 was confiscated by American forces and converted into an officer's club. These paintings have enormous importance for reasons besides their artistic value: they once belonged to the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria, Princess Victoria (Empress Friedrich), who built the castle. Her royal seal appears on the reverse of one of the paintings. The other painting is actually a portrait of Princess Victoria as a child being held by Her Majesty, Queen Victoria.These paintings would have been among the many personal belongings that accompanied the Princess to Germany for her marriage to Frederick III.
The restitution ceremony was organized working with Donatus Landgraf von Hessen in Kronberg. The Landgraf had the actual inventory books of the family belongings, which make specific mention of both paintings. About the return of the two paintings, the Landgraf stated: “We are very excited for the paintings to return to the collection. We want to express our gratitude to the Monuments Men Foundation for their work reuniting these and other items with their rightful owners”.
Margaret Reeb’s nephew, Mike Holland, commented: “My aunt was from a generation that grew up making sacrifices and putting others before themselves. I believe that working with the Monuments Men Foundation honors her legacy and is a testament to her personal character and patriotism. We are excited to know that these paintings will now be returned to their rightful owners."