Search results

Start typing

James Roberts (c. 1800-67)

Queen Victoria's Birthday Table at Osborne House, 24 May 1861 dated 1861

Watercolour and bodycolour over slight indications in pencil with some scratching out | 18.3 x 24.5 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 919874

Your share link is...


  • A watercolour depicting a detailed view of Queen Victoria's Birthday Table; Aurora by Emma Richards is seen on the end wall behind a table, which is full of gifts from the children. View of the Konigs See by F.Roffiaen is on the end wall as well. Signed and inscribed: Js Roberts / Osborne; inscribed along bottom edge: London / Frogmore / CLAREMON[T] / DUBLIN / IRELAND / ENGLAND / SCOTLAND / EDINBORO / OXFORD / Cambridge / Kensington.

    The delight in giving gifts at birthdays, Christmas and on wedding anniversaries was an activity shared by the whole royal family. Presents would be displayed on and around a special table. This watercolour records the elaborate table and decorations set out for the Queen’s birthday, 24 May 1861. Among the Queen’s gifts on this occasion can be seen pictures by Princess Alice and Emma Gaggiotti Richards, a portrait of the Duchess of Kent after Winterhalter, a Berlin card tray, and a Sèvres dish.

    Victoria and Albert commissioned and collected many watercolours throughout their marriage documenting aspects of their public and private lives together, including the sequence of watercolours depicting the temporary birthday tables created on the occasion of the Queen’s birthday, 24th May. From 1848 until Albert's death in 1861, Victoria spent all of her birthdays at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. Joseph Nash painted four depictions of these tables in the 1840s, but from 1851 James Roberts was given the commission. After Prince Albert’s death in 1861, the birthday tables were only photographed and never again painted.

    This watercolour was originally mounted in View Album IX. 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.

    Text adapted from Victoria & Albert: Art & Love, London, 2010

    Commissioned by Queen Victoria for her View Album; Roberts was paid 14 gns for two drawings of the presents room in June 1861 (RA Z/276/236)

  • Medium and techniques

    Watercolour and bodycolour over slight indications in pencil with some scratching out


    18.3 x 24.5 cm (sheet of paper)

  • Alternative title(s)

    The Queen's Birthday Table at Osborne, 24 May 1861

The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.