Lecture of the Palace of Holyrood house
3rd June 2021
Royal Collection Trust
Lecture from The Queen’s Gallery Palace of Holyrood house
Victoria and Albert- Our lives in watercolour
18th May 2021
Those Ward members able to attend the Lecture on Zoom were treated to a fascinating talk together with the opportunity to see specific art works of the period with particularly reference to landscapes and architectural places of interest, homes and historical moments in the life of Victoria and Albert. Indeed, there was also the opportunity to see examples of their own water colours as they both enjoyed doing this as a hobby. The slight downside to the Lecture was the fact that the amplification and microphone had not been adjusted. The particular room where the talk was taking place was extremely large with a circular centre.
The Curator Carly Collier introduced the ways in which these watercolours allow us to explore the extraordinary details both personal and public aspects of their lives. There are glimpses of time spent at the Palace of Holyrood house, Balmoral, Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace, Osborne House and their extensive travels in this country with visits to France and Germany. The exhibition has just been opened for visitors following the closure since last year due to regulations of the pandemic. It highlights the Bicentenary of the birth of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert with three other exhibition venues- Newcastle, Poole and Wolverhampton. The choice of paintings is like recorded documentation of their private and public life pre photography. This is because the detail of these paintings is so vivid.
Taking particular examples there is a beautiful view of the interior of Buckingham Palace painted by Eugene Louis Lami 1848 with guests already assembled for a Ball standing on the main staircase. Another interesting painting is of an interior room, a Bedroom in Windsor Castle by Joseph Nash 1847. Here it shows paintings on the wall of parents, grandparents and uncles, with fashionable furnishings and other detail such as a shawl ,bonnet and book by Nash.
There is a beautiful scene of the Solent from Osborne House in the Isle of Wight done by a lady in waiting of Queen Victoria, Viscountess Canning who was taught by the painter Leitch. The pomp and pageantry of the driving out from Windsor Castle in the Large State Coach with Louis Philippe is documented in 1844 by Joseph Nash again. Other noteworthy items are Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s Lunch with the Emperor and Empress of France at Crystal Palace 1855 Louis Haghe and their return visit to Paris by Eugene Guerard the same year.
Other events such as their visit to Berlin in 1858 shows Unter den Linden and the Promenade painted by Max Michael with the statue of Frederick the Great in the centre, the Royal Artillery on their return from the Crimea in 1856 as well as the opening of Parliament in 1861 and the Great Exhibition of 1851. There are a number of paintings to recall the event but in particular Prince Albert’s closing address painted Joseph Nash in 1852.
The paintings were commissioned by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The untimely death of Prince Albert is noted in several paintings of monuments erected to him following his death in 1861 to perpetuate his memory. They both complied nine albums in chronological order like a photographic album of the moments and experiences they enjoyed together. They also undertook watercolour painting themselves sharing a lifelong hobby when they first met. With their own paintings and the exhibition this demonstrate adventure and escapism together with a wonderful documented historical record.
I hope that this review of the talk has encouraged you to visit the Exhibition which you may do online. This is done in a most creative way as if you are actually visiting the Gallery itself.