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A young girl filling a pitcher from the spring

Queen Victoria received her first drawing lesson at Kensington Palace when she was eight years old. It took place at 9.30am on the morning of Tuesday 4 December 1827, between classes on religion and history, and poetry and general knowledge. The drawing master was Richard Westall (1765 – 1836), who continued to teach the Princess on a weekly basis until 1836. A combination of latent talent, enthusiasm and good teaching ensured that she became a competent draughtswoman and watercolourist. The Princess’s lessons appear to have consisted chiefly of exercises in copying drawings by Westall himself, such as this example of a young girl filling a pitcher with water. Princess Victoria presented her finished copies to her mother, the Duchess of Kent, who pasted the drawings into an album.