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Treasured watercolours commissioned by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to go on display around the UK

Release date: Wednesday, 17 April 2019


To mark the bicentenary of the births of both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 2019, a touring exhibition from the Royal Collection will explore the royal couple’s collecting of watercolours as a record of their public and private lives together. Travelling to three museums and galleries across the country, Victoria & Albert: Our Lives in Watercolour will feature almost 70 works from Victoria and Albert’s collection, several of which will be on public display for the first time.

Throughout their marriage, Victoria and Albert were enthusiastic patrons, and practitioners, of watercolour painting. They formed a collection of thousands of works and spent happy evenings together organising their acquisitions into albums, as recorded by the Queen in her journal. Following Albert’s death in 1861, the albums took on even greater significance to the widowed Victoria, functioning as both a tangible memory of the time she spent alone with her beloved husband and a record of significant moments in their lives. 

The exhibition will include watercolours that were originally housed in these very personal albums. The watercolours captured important public and private events, from the christenings and birthday parties of the royal children to glittering court balls, views of the towns, cities and landscapes Victoria and Albert saw on their travels at home and abroad, and records of the places they lived, such as Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace. The exhibition will also include a small group of works painted by Queen Victoria, who was herself a talented amateur artist. 

The colourful, dynamic watercolours collected by Victoria and Albert illuminate aspects of both Victoria's reign and the royal couple's passions. They capture the pomp and spectacle of the British court, foreign travel and diplomacy, the exploration and shaping of a modern nation, and the close-knit family at the heart of it all.

Victoria & Albert: Our Lives in Watercolour

Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle: 29 June – 15 September 2019

Poole Museum: 26 October 2019 – 5 January 2020

Wolverhampton Art Gallery: 7 March – 31 May 2020