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This exhibition is in the past. View our current exhibitions.

Ceremonial and Spectacle

In addition to the more private ʻscenes of our lifeʼ, Victoria and Albert included watercolours of public events in the albums they compiled together. The period of their marriage encompassed events of great national and international importance. The royal couple were intimately involved with many of these; Albert, for example, was a driving force behind the Great Exhibition of 1851, often regarded as the first ‘world fair’.


In many of these watercolours, Victoria and Albert themselves are small figures, with more emphasis on the event than the couple’s participation. To a degree this can be explained by the likely vantage point of the artist, who may have been high up to get a good overview of the scene, perhaps at some distance from the royal party. But Victoria and Albert were clearly receptive to illustrations that offered a wider view of an occasion.

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