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Unseen watercolours collected by Victoria and Albert in their prized sketchbooks are to be sent on tour around Britain, providing new insight into their marriage on the 200th anniversary of their births.

The paintings, described by Queen Victoria as her “most valuable albums”, were so loved that the binding which held them together wore out during her widowhood, as they were admired over and over again.

Queen Victoria's prized watercolours go on show for first time



Queen Victoria painted her son, Arthur, on May 7, 1853 Credit: Royal Collection Trust


Hannah Furness, Arts Correspondent
1 January 2019
The Telegraph

Unseen watercolours collected by Victoria and Albert in their prized sketchbooks are to be sent on tour around Britain, providing new insight into their marriage on the 200th anniversary of their births.

The paintings, described by Queen Victoria as her “most valuable albums”, were so loved that the binding which held them together wore out during her widowhood, as they were admired over and over again.

Showing their children, favourite places, and the key moments of Victoria’s reign, they are considered a snapshot of their tastes as the prolific patrons and make-shift curators of their era.

Some of the works, to travel to Newcastle, Poole and Wolverhampton, were painted by the royal family themselves, with many on display for the first time.

Victoria’s diaries record how she and Albert spent "many quiet evenings after dinner alone", organising their scrapbooks.


Joseph Nash, The Great Exhibition: The Exterior, dated 1851 Credit: Royal Collection Trust

Nine albums, dating between 1840 and 1861, are considered by Royal Collection Trust curators to be a “visual record of their marriage” covering their homes, birthdays, christenings, weddings and myriad family celebrations.

Their overseas tours, including visits to relatives in Germany, are covered, along with scenes of their proudest Victorian achievements such as the Great Exhibition.

Among the professional paintings commissioned by the couple and gifts from amateur artists, are watercolours from talented ladies-in-waiting who would “take a view” for their records.


Richard Principal Leitch, Aston Hall, Birmingham, dated 1859 Credit: Royal Collection Trust

The albums themselves, worn through use, were disbound in the early 1930s, but a surviving typescript list records the original order of the pictures.

Paintings being exhibited for the first time include a watercolour by Queen Victoria herself of her third son, Prince Arthur, a Joseph Nash picture of the Great Exhibition, and royal visits to the Château d'Eu, Normandy and St Pierre, Guernsey.

The 2019 exhibition is designed to celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, intended to give the public an insight into their private passions.


Ugene Louis Lami, The Arrival of Queen Victoria at the Château d'Eu, c.1843 Credit: Royal Collection Trust

“It's a particularly personal type of collection,” said curator Dr Carly Collier. “We know Victoria and Albert formed a large collection of works on paper and they were very engaged with it. They were almost curators themselves.

“I hope people will really respond to the variety of images on display. I hope it will give them a sense of Victoria and Albert’s taste, and that it might introduce some artists that might not be particularly well known to the general public.

“They are really lively, really colourful, really fresh, and we know they were incredibly important to Victoria.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/201...ow-first-time/