Painting of Queen to fetch �30,000

AN oil painting of Queen Victoria and her faithful servant John Brown by a Great Yarmouth artist is set to fetch up to �30,000 at auction.

The work by Charles Burton Barber is particularly valuable because it was a personal gift from the Queen to Brown and shows the pair on August 26, 1876, the year Brown celebrated his 50th birthday.

Charles Burton Barber was born in Great Yarmouth in 1845. According to the 1851 census, he and his family lived at The Quay, Yarmouth, where his father, Charles senior, was a printer, bookseller and stationer, and who, unusually at that time, employed a 19-year-old West Indian apprentice named Dinzey Burton.

When Barber died in 1894, at the age of 49, the Queen sent an aide to his funeral with a wreath bearing the message: “A mark of admiration and regard from Victoria R.I.”

The Mercury recalled at the time how Barber painted, at Queen Victoria’s request, a picture of primrose fields. She was so pleased that she gave him a signed photograph of herself.

In recent years the value of Barber’s work has soared. That was confirmed at Christie’s in London on June 7, 2007, when his 1893 oil painting, In Disgrace, sold for �322,400, setting a new world record for a work by Barber.

Barber’s picture of Queen Victoria with John Brown is among 500 royal paintings, letters, furniture and other antique treasures from Old Battersea House.

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The house is the London home of the Forbes family, which, among other things, owns the Forbes financial magazine, which publishes the famous Forbes Four Hundred, lisiting America’s 400 richest people.

The Forbes collection - including the Barber painting - is expected to fetch between �3m and �4m at Lyon and Turnbull in Edinburgh on November 1.