Exhibition Highlights

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					                THE ROYAL COLLECTION TRUST
                           Victoria & Albert: Art & Love

                                   Exhibition Highlights

Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-1873), The Royal Family in 1846, 1846
                                      In this well-known picture Queen Victoria is skilfully depicted as
                                      both sovereign and mother. The scene is one of domestic
                                      harmony, albeit with the symbols of monarchy prominently
                                      displayed. The painting was hung in the Dining Room at
                                      Osborne House. Although intended ultimately for this private
                                      setting, it was first exhibited in 1847 in St James’s Palace,
                                      where it was seen by 100,000 members of the public. In 1850 it
                                      was engraved for public circulation. The picture was not well
                                      received by some of the press, who criticised its ‘sensuous and
                                      fleshy’ character.

Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-1873), Queen Victoria, 1843

                        The royal couple entrusted Winterhalter to paint both their official portraits and
                        more private images. Here Queen Victoria is shown in an intimate and
                        alluring pose, leaning against a red cushion with her hair half unravelled from
                        its fashionable knot. In her Journal, the Queen refers to the painting as ‘the
                        secret picture’, prepared as a surprise for Prince Albert’s 24th birthday. It was
                        hung in the Prince’s Waiting Room in Windsor, and the Queen referred to it as
                        ‘my darling Albert’s favourite picture’.

Sir William Ross (1794-1860), Prince Albert, 1840

                       Ross began painting this portrait in February 1840, soon after the Queen and
                       Prince Albert were married. It became Queen Victoria’s favourite image of her
                       husband. The miniature was copied and set into a bracelet, which
                       Queen Victoria is shown wearing in several portraits. In 1872, the Queen’s
                       eldest daughter Victoria asked her mother for ‘an engraving of the lovely
                       miniature of Sir Wm. Ross (in the black velvet coat, in profile) which stands on
                       your writing table’.
Sir Edwin Landseer (1803-1873), Victoria, Princess Royal with Eos, 1841

                                       Landseer worked for Queen Victoria both before and after her
                                       marriage to Prince Albert. Princess Victoria (‘Pussy’) is portrayed
                                       at the age of eight months, wearing a white dress with a pink satin
                                       ribbon. Eos was Prince Albert’s favourite pet, and it is no
                                       coincidence that Landseer included her in a picture intended for
                                       the Prince’s birthday. Prince Albert is recorded as having been
                                       ‘quite delighted’ with the picture, which hung in his Writing Room
                                       at Buckingham Palace.

William Powell Frith (1819-1909), Ramsgate Sands: ‘Life at the Seaside’, 1851-4

                                                    Frith was one of the first artists to paint scenes of
                                                    modern life. Ramsgate, a seaside resort on the
                                                    Kentish coast, became a popular destination for
                                                    day trips in the 1840s. Queen Victoria had visited
                                                    the town several times between 1825 and 1836.
                                                    Frith depicts children building sandcastles,
                                                    fashionably dressed young ladies, street
                                                    entertainers and tradesmen. The picture includes a
                                                    self-portrait of the artist and a young girl thought to
be the artist’s daughter. It was a great success with both the public and critics. Its reception at the
Royal Academy in 1854 was so enthusiastic that a guard-rail was installed to protect it from the crowds
keen to examine details at close hand.

Queen Victoria, The Children at Osborne, 1850

                                       Such was Queen Victoria’s public profile that she found it
                                       decidedly difficult to paint and sketch undisturbed. For this reason
                                       she often sought subjects for her art amongst her family and close
                                       circle. In this watercolour of June 1841 the Queen painted her six
                                       eldest children in the garden at Osborne. As her young children
                                       grew they provided a never-ending source of interest, and their
                                       changing appearance and their games were frequently captured
                                       in drawings and watercolours.

                         Queen Victoria, A Scene from ‘Der Hahnenschlag’, 1852

                         In January 1852 the royal couple’s six eldest children appeared in a
                         performance of August von Kotzebue’s 1803 comedy Der Hahnenschlag (‘The
                         Cockshy’), at Windsor Castle. Plays of this kind, which typically included
                         musical interludes, were a regular part of royal family life, involving dedicated
rehearsal with the children’s tutors. The characters are all dressed in traditional Bavarian Tracht
costume, reflecting Queen Victoria’s interest in national costumes. Stylistically the picture shows the
influence of Winterhalter, who taught the Queen oil painting during his visits in 1851 and 1852.

Emil Wolff (1802-1879), Prince Albert, 1849

                         Prince Albert commissioned this portrait from the Prussian sculptor Emil Wolff in
                         1841 as a gift for his new wife. The Prince is dressed as a Greek warrior
                         bearing Victory (Viktoria) on his breastplate, the emblems of England, Scotland,
                         Ireland and Saxony at his waist, and a carved shield decorated with St George
                         and the Dragon. The statue had originally been intended for the Queen’s 23rd
                         birthday in May 1842, but was not completed until March 1844. This second
                         version of the statue was modified by the slight lengthening of the kilt and the
                         addition of sandals at Prince Albert’s request. It was installed in the Guard
                         Chamber at Buckingham Palace in January 1849, to accompany the statue of
                         Queen Victoria by John Gibson.

Frederic Leighton (1830-1896), Cimabue’s Madonna Carried in Procession, 1853-5

                                                     This huge painting was purchased by Queen
                                                     Victoria on the opening day of the Royal Academy
                                                     exhibition in May 1855. The Queen visited the
                                                     exhibition privately before the public opening and
                                                     recorded that ‘Albert was enchanted with it – so
                                                     much so that he made me buy it’. The subject matter
                                                     is an episode from Vasari’s Lives of the Artists. The
                                                     Rucellai Madonna altarpiece (then attributed to
Cimabue, but now thought to be by Duccio) is carried through the streets of Florence to the church of
Santa Maria Novella. Cimabue, wearing white in the centre, leads his pupil Giotto by the hand, while
Dante looks on from the far right. Queen Victoria wrote, ‘it is a beautiful painting, quite reminding one of
a young Paul Veronese, so bright & full of lights.’ This was the first work by Leighton to be shown at the
Royal Academy and reflected his interest in early Italian art. On arrival at Buckingham Palace, it was
hung in the Music Room, adjacent to the Picture Gallery.

Duccio di Buoninsegna (active 1278 – before 1319) and assistants, Triptych: The Crucifixion and
                                     other scenes, c.1302-8

                                          This three-panelled work served as a portable devotional
                                          alterpiece. It was purchased by Prince Albert in 1845 from
                                          Ludwig Metzger, a German dealer operating in Florence and
                                          was the first undoubted work by Duccio to enter a British
collection. For the exhibition it is being re-united with the frame chosen by Prince Albert. This is
decorated with delicately carved and gilded vine leaf ornament on an intense blue background. The
triptych was hung with the other early Italian pictures in the Prince’s Dressing and Writing Room at
Osborne House.

Attributed to Zanobi Strozzi (1412-1468), The Madonna of Humility with Angels, c.1440-50

                         Prince Albert acquired this painting believing it to be by Fra Angelico, who for
                         English collectors of the time was perhaps the most celebrated and sought-
                         after early Italian painter. It has subsequently been attributed to one of the
                         artist’s associates, Zanobu di Benedetto di Carocci, a member of the
                         important Strozzi family of Florence. As the Madonna of Humility, the Virgin
                         is seated in front of a cloth of honour and holds a white lily as a symbol of her
                         purity. The pink and red roses offered by the angels are attributes of the
                         Virgin as Queen of Heaven. The painting’s mid 19th-century gothic frame
                         was originally decorated in a striking scheme of gold on azure blue, which
                         was devised by the Prince’s artistic adviser Ludwig Gruner. This scheme has
                         been obscured by late 19th-century regilding and has been reinstated for the

Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553), Apollo and Diana, c.1526

                      Prince Albert was particularly interested in the work of Lucas Cranach, one of
                      the principal artists of the German Renaissance. Of the 15 paintings by Cranach
                      or his workshop in the Royal Collection, all but three were acquired by Prince
                      Albert. The picture shows the sun god Apollo, admired for his moral standing
                      and physical beauty, and his twin sister Diana, goddess of the moon, who was
                      associated with chastity, archery and hunting. The picture was framed as part of
                      a pair and was initially thought to depict Adam and Eve. It was hung in the
                      Page’s Waiting Room at Osborne House with four other Cranachs.

R. & S. Garrard, manufacturer; Prince Albert (1819–1861), designer; Edmund Cotterill (1795–
1860), modeller, Centrepiece, 1842/3

                          Prince Albert took a keen interest in design. This Italian Renaissance-style
                          centrepiece was his first collaboration with the firm Garrards and features
                          models of four family pets; Eos, Islay, Cairnach and Waldmann. Both Prince
                          Albert and Queen Victoria were dog lovers. Although the centrepiece is often
                          said to portray the Queen’s favourite dogs, the greyhound bitch Eos was in
                          fact the devoted pet of Prince Albert and appears on several other items in
                          the Royal Collection, including paperweights and inkstands.
South India (Travancore), Throne and footstool, c.1850

                        The gift of this magnificent throne from the Maharajah Martanda Varma to
                        Queen Victoria was intended both as a tribute to the friendly alliance that had
                        endured between Great Britain and Travancore, and as an explicit and high-
                        profile advertisement for the traditional ivory-carving skills of the region. The
                        throne occupied the centre of the tented Indian section of the Great
                        Exhibition. In 1877 the Queen was proclaimed Empress of India and she
                        chose to be seated on this throne at Windsor for the official photograph.

Elkington, Mason and Co. (1842–1861), manufacturer; Ludwig Gruner (1801–1882), designer,
Jewel cabinet, 1851

                                 This elaborate jewel case was commissioned by Prince Albert as a
                                 gift for Queen Victoria. Manufactured by one of the royal couple’s
                                 favoured manufacturers of the Great Exhibition, the cabinet was
                                 conceived by Gruner and combines classical architectural detail with
                                 free-standing sculpture and a bold use of colour. Plaques on the
                                 front depict the Queen with the young Prince of Wales, Prince Albert
                                 in armour and the profiles of the six royal children (excluding
                                 Leopold and Beatrice, born after 1851) around the plinth.

S. & P. Erard (active 1780-1960), Grand Piano, 1856

                             Queen Victoria and Prince Albert played the piano to an advanced level,
                             and a number of pianos could be found at all their residences. At the
                             Queen’s death in 1901, there were 23 instruments in Windsor Castle.
                             This piano was intended as a showpiece and seems always to have
                             stood in the White Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace. The gilded
                             case is painted with monkeys playing trumpets, tambourines and violins,
                             and children engaged in various forms of mischief. The piano was
                             exhibited in the Royal Albert Hall in 1885.

Michael Leonz Wetli (1809-1886), Writing table, 1851

                         This remarkable piece of Swiss furniture is adorned with carvings of
                         milkmaids, farmers and shepherds in traditional Bernese costume. Two
                         figures are taking part in a form of wrestling known as Schwingen, in which
                         the competitors are not allowed to touch each other’s bodies, only their
                         trousers. The Queen and Prince Albert purchased the desk following its
                         display at the Great Exhibition in 1851. The quality of the carving and skilful
                         use of contrasting wood is of note, as is the ingenious mechanism which
                         allows the table to be used in a sitting or standing position.
Unknown makers, Orange blossom parure, 1839-46
                            One of the first gifts Prince Albert sent to his fiancée in November 1839
                            was a gold and porcelain brooch in the form of a sprig of orange
                            blossom, a flower long associated with betrothal. The second brooch
                            and matching earrings were given to Queen Victoria in December 1845.
                            The suite was completed with a wreath, an anniversary gift in February
                            1846. The wreath incorporates four small green enamel apples,
                            intended to represent the four eldest children – Victoria, Albert Edward,
                            Alice and Alfred. Queen Victoria wore parts of the parure at every
                            anniversary while her husband was alive.

English, Queen Victoria’s Wedding Brooch, 1840

                          The day before her wedding, Queen Victoria wrote of a gift from ‘dearest
                          Albert’ – ‘a splendid brooch, a large sapphire set round with diamonds,
                          which is really quite beautiful’. She wore the brooch on her wedding day
                          and on many subsequent occasions. The brooch was probably supplied
                          by a leading London jeweller such as Kitching & Abud or Mortimer & Hunt,
                          both of whom Prince Albert patronised significantly in the early years of
                          his marriage. It reflects the simple style of early 19th-century jewellery,
                          which remained in favour with the Queen well into her reign.

Eugène Lami (1800-1890), designer; unknown maker, Queen Victoria’s Costume for the
Stuart Ball, 1851

                        Queen Victoria asked Eugène Lami to design costumes for her and Prince
                        Albert on the occasion of the 1851 Stuart Ball at Buckingham Palace. Of the
                        Queen’s surviving clothes, this dress is the most sumptuous and glamorous.
                        The silk is almost certainly of French production. The rich brocade of the
                        underskirt was woven in Benares and could have been acquired at the Great
                        Exhibition, which opened six weeks before the ball. The lace copies 17th-
                        century Venetian raised-point needle lace and was probably made in Ireland.

William Edward Kilburn (1818-1891), Queen Victoria, the Princess Royal, the Prince of Wales,
Princess Alice, Princess Helena and Prince Alfred, 17 January 1852
                              William Kilburn opened a photographic studio in early 1847 and
                              become one of the leading photographers in London. In 1852 he made
                              a group portrait of Queen Victoria with her five eldest children. In the
                              exposure the Queen appeared with her eyes closed. In an attempt to
                              remove what she perceived to be an unflattering image, the Queen
scratched out her face on the plate. A second version of the portrait was subsequently made.

Roger Fenton (1819-1869), The Queen and Prince Albert, Buckingham Palace (after a Drawing
Room), 11 May 1854

                          Queen Victoria and Prince Albert first encountered Roger Fenton at the
                          Photographic Society exhibition held in London in early 1854. Fenton was
                          subsequently commissioned to photograph the royal couple and their
                          children, capturing moments of their private and domestic life. On 11 May
                          1854 Fenton photographed the Queen and Prince Albert immediately after a
                          Drawing Room, a formal ceremony during which members of the public were
                          presented to the Queen. These were the first photographic portraits to show
                          Queen Victoria as monarch, rather than as a wife and mother.