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Victoria, Princess Royal

Queen Victoria’s and Prince Albert’s eldest child, Victoria, Princess Royal, was a talented and enthusiastic artist. She benefited greatly from the meticulous plan devised for the education of the royal children, which included regular art tuition. Taught by the watercolourist Edward Corbould, the Princess particularly excelled in this medium, as attested to by her large-scale watercolour of the first meeting of Romeo and Juliet. Following her marriage to Prince Frederick William (later Crown Prince) of Prussia in 1858, the Princess regretted the small amount of time she could devote to her artistic pursuits. In a letter to her mother that same year she writes of her enduring passion: ‘I do love art more than I can say and no occupation has so great a charm as even my small way of practising it.’ Like her mother, the Princess often chose to depict the members of her family, including her younger sister Princess Helena, who is the subject of this delicate profile portrait. The drawing was given to the Scottish artist Sir Joseph Noel Paton (1821 – 1901), who inscribed it as follows: ‘This study of Princess Helena was made in my room at Windsor Castle by the Crown Princess of Prussia, and presented to me by HRH on the eve of her departure from England, 1863’.

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