Unknown artist (German 19th century?)
William I, Emperor of Germany
Oil on canvas, c.144.78 x 114.3 cm
Presented by the Emperor, 1870
State Library of Victoria

William or Wilhelm I (1797-1888) was crowned king of Prussia in 1861, and then became the first Kaiser of the new unified Germany in January 1871. See also * Milster William I, King of Prussia {by 1871?} Loc? [PR].

The artist responsible for the present portrait is not named, but the work appears to be closely comparable with several other known portraits of the Emperor, including one by German painter Gottlieb Biermann (1824-1908).

On his death in March 1888, Wilhelm I was succeeded as king and Emperor by his son: see * Rohrbach after Hellwig Frederick William of Prussia {by 1871?} Loc? [PR], who reigned for only 99 days before dying of cancer. He was succeeded in turn by his son Wilhelm II (1859-1941), a much more bellicose ruler who ended up leading Germany into World War I.


AR 1870A, p.188, Schedule XLIII (as presented in 1870); NGV 1894, p.121 (V.Buvelot Gallery, 6th bay, no.6 (size given as 57 x 45 inches; not reproduced); not listed in NGV 1905

SLV (not currently catalogued); the ID photo shown here was taken by the author (July 2019)

For the portrait by Biermann, see e.g. https://www.1st-art-gallery.com/Gottlieb-Biermann/Kaiser-Wilhelm-I.html (accessed 20 July 2019); for another portrait of Wilhelm I, full-length but otherwise apparently very similar to the present work, see also https://www.flickr.com/photos/49946748@N05/4588100395/in/gallery-kaisertreu-72157632949873509/ (also accessed 20 July 2019); full details for both these comparative works have yet to be established