Prince Albert's painting gift to Queen Victoria.

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Pic:   Heritage/BNPS<br />
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The back of the painting, 'The Larder'.<br />
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Royal oil painting sells for 7 times its estimate...<br />
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A charming painting Queen Victoria gave Prince Albert as a birthday present 175 years ago has sold for £40,000 at auction after surfacing for the first time in five decades.<br />
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The monarch presented her beloved husband with the artwork by Belgian artist Charles van Meer on his 25th birthday in 1844.<br />
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Titled 'The Larder', it shows a kitchen maid peeling apples and bears Albert's personal collector's mark 'PA' surmounted by a crown on the reverse of the panel.<br />
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Following Albert's death in 1861, Victoria kept hold of it for the rest of her life and it was subsequently passed to their third daughter, Princess Helena, before entering a private US collection in the 1960s.