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Edouard Hildebrandt (1818-68)

Dumbarton Castle signed & dated 1848

Pencil, watercolour and bodycolour with scraping out | 21.5 x 33.5 cm (whole object) | RCIN 913664

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  • A watercolour view of Dumbarton Castle in west Scotland; set on a crag, the castle is seen from Bishopton, and there are fishing boats and other craft in the foreground. Signed and dated bottom left: E Hildebrandt 1848.

    In August 1847 Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their two eldest children, the Princess Royal and Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, made a tour from Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, via Wales, up the west coast of Scotland and around the Western Isles on the royal yacht before spending just under a month staying at Ardverikie shooting-lodge on the banks of Loch Laggan. The royal party arrived in Scotland on 17 August, landing at Greenock in the royal yacht and travelling on their smaller vessel, the Fairy, up the Clyde to visit Dumbarton Castle. The Queen recorded the sightseeing excursion in her journal: 'by 1 [we] were at Dumbarton Castle, the situation of which is very fine, the rock rising straight out of the river, with mountains all round, & the town of Dumbarton behind it. It is very picturesque. We landed just below the Castle, & went with Charles [Prince of Leiningen, Victoria's half-brother] & the 2 Children in a carriage to the Fort. There was a great crowd, but excellent order was kept. We went to the Battery, having to mount many steps to get to it. Wallace was imprisoned here, & Mary Queen of Scots escaped from here. It is one of the last places that held out for her & has been a fortress for 1800 years. From the Battery one has a very extensive view of the Cylde & Dumbarton, & one ought to have seen Ben Lomond but it was shrouded in mist.'

    Hildebrandt was court painter to Frederick IV, King of Prussia, and on 24 January 1848 Victoria recorded in her journal going to see 'a German painter, Hildebrand by name, who has been making very pretty sketches here for the King of Prussia' - 'here' was Windsor Castle, and there are several pencil sketches and finished watercolours in the Staaliche Museen, Berlin and the Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg depicting the castle and its surrounding landscape. Kunst-Blatt, a German art periodical, published a feature, dated April 1848, on Hildebrandt prompted by his presence in England. According to the author, who had seen Hildebrandt's watercolours for Queen Victoria in his studio, she appreciated in particular the 'peculiar' light effects Hildebrandt achieved in his Windsor watercolours (sunset, rain, evening etc.) and thus commissioned the artist to paint views related to her 1847 summer tour of the south coast and Scotland for her albums. (Kunst-Blatt, 46, 21 September 1848, p. 184). A biography of the artist (F. Arndt, Eduard Hildebrandt, Der Maler Des Kosmos, 1869) published shortly after his death stated that Hildebrandt lived at Windsor Castle while carrying out his commission for Frederick IV, and taught Victoria drawing, though there is no mention of this in her journal.

    This watercolour was originally mounted in View Album IV. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert compiled nine View Albums during their marriage. These albums contained watercolours and drawings documenting their life together and were arranged in chronological order. The albums were dismantled in the early twentieth century and rebound in new volumes both in a different arrangement and with additional items, but a written record of their original contents and arrangement still exists.

    Commissioned by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert

  • Medium and techniques

    Pencil, watercolour and bodycolour with scraping out


    21.5 x 33.5 cm (whole object)

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