Collection Online
Queen Esther
oil on canvas
213.5 × 170.3 cm
inscribed in brown paint c.l.: EDWIN LONG / 1878
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1879
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
Not on display

Commissioned from the artist, 1878; arrived Melbourne, 1879.

Exhibited: Victorian Olympians, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney,
20 June – 20 July 1975, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 12 August –
14 September 1975, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, 26 September –
26 October 1975, no. 23; Queens & sirens: Archaeology in 19th century art and design, Geelong Art Gallery, Geelong, 26 September – 1 November 1998, no. 5.


This remarkable frame makes use of design motifs from the painting in the decorative elements of the frame. The ornament on the inner scotia is taken from the frieze on the base of the wall in the background, right. The motif on the leading edge is adapted from the ornament on the lid of the chest. The frame maker is identified by an invoice from John and William Vokins for: An ornamental Persian pattern frame in oil and burnished gold with part of ornament picked out in green gold and double gilt matt flat for picture of Esther put together with bolts and screws. A double gilt tablet with inscription written there on for above frame. The invoice is dated 6 July 1878 and the frame cost £32.14.0. The painting cost £1600.2


1 There are a number of frames in the collection which use tie bolts across the corners to facilitate assembly. See also the frames on Aby Altson’s The Golden Age by Argellies (6-2) and James Quinn’s Nativity (98-2) by Havard (both framers from Paris).

2 A large-scale Vokins frame, now sadly much altered through restoration, is found on Landseer’s The Earl and Countess of Sefton and daughter with horses and dog at Abbeydale (1825-4). Another Vokins frame, also altered by restoration, is found on Eugéne von Guérard’s Sydney Heads (A3-1986), though it is not the original framing of the painting and was likely put on the work in London.


J. & W. Vokins
14 & 16 Great Portland Street, London

The frame is made of two wooden profiles. The inner amounts to a slip but is overlapped on the front of the outer frame rather than sitting into a rebate. The working edge is established by the addition of a strip of timber. The frame carries a mixture of oil and water gilding finished with size to matte the surface, the raised half-round is lightly burnished. The outer section carries two composition friezes with gilding varying between yellow and lemon gold. The corners are mitres joined with tie bolts to facilitate assembly and dismantling for travel. 1


Good original condition throughout. The size layer on the gilding of the composition areas has discoloured and is flaking.

265.5 x 222.0 x 14.0 cm; sight 213.5 x 169.5 cm
More Information
National Portrait Gallery