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The Exhibition

Queen Victoria (1819–1901) and Prince Albert (1819–61) spent many happy evenings together compiling albums of watercolours, prints and photographs. Among these were nine volumes which Victoria described as ‘My valuable Albums ... containing most beautiful water color paintings by the first Artists, and some by Amateurs, collected by my beloved Husband & myself, and representing the different places we visited & scenes of our life etc; arranged by my dearly beloved Husband.’ Many of the works in this exhibition were originally mounted in these very personal albums.

The royal couple collected watercolours in different ways – commissioning them directly, purchasing them at exhibitions and receiving them as gifts. Some they exchanged as presents for birthdays or at Christmas. Both Victoria and Albert were enthusiastic patrons, and demonstrated great interest in the process of artistic creation. The Queen was a proficient amateur watercolourist, and took lessons with some of the artists whose works the couple collected.

The watercolours on display here give us an insight into the private and public lives of Victoria and Albert. These colourful and dynamic works capture the pomp and spectacle of the British court, the exploration and shaping of a modern nation, foreign travel and diplomacy, and the close-knit family at the heart of it all.

This exhibition also includes a display of materials from the City Archives relating to a visit made by Queen Victoria and other members of the royal family to Wolverhampton on Friday 30 November 1866 to unveil the equestrian statue erected in memory of Prince Albert, which stands to this day in Queen Square. The display includes newspaper cuttings from the time, an original invitation to the unveiling ceremony, images of the event and other commemorative items.

A watercolour showing studies of landscapes, trees and colour trials, possibly executed under the tutelage of WL Leitch. Colour trials are shown at the top of the sheet, with a flat landscape shown below to the right. A tree is shown to the left, with a p
Queen Victoria as a watercolourist

Victoria was herself an accomplished watercolour artist

A watercolour showing a lady and a small girl approaching down the Grand Corridor at Windsor Castle, possibly intended to represent the Queen with Princess Alice. Signed and dated bottom right: Joseph. Nash. 1846 
The Grand Corridor, constructed by Jeffry
Homes and family

The works show settings for both domestic and court life

A watercolour showing a distant view of the Solent, with slabs of building stone in the foreground. Inscribed 'Osborne' with an illegible date on the side of one of the stone slabs.  
Osborne House on the Isle of Wight was built by Queen Victoria and Prin
Osborne and Balmoral

Osborne and Balmoral provided privacy and space for Victoria and Albert's growing family

A watercolour showing the North and East fronts of the house, seen from higher parkland above; sheep graze, a single figure stands to the right, and the countryside stretches out in the distance. Signed and dated at lower right: 'C R Stanley 1841'. 
Travelling the kingdom

Victoria and Albert travelled widely throughout Britain and Ireland

Cover of an album, with Victoria and Albert's monongram on the cover
Facsimile album

A recreation of one of Queen Victoria's albums, in which these works would originally have been housed

A watercolour drawing of a military review on the Champ de Mars, with lines of troops and soldiers on horseback. On the right, Queen Victoria and the royal party are seated on the balcony of the École Militaire, with fashionably dressed ladies
Ties with France

Victoria's first trip abroad was to France in 1843

A watercolour view of the exterior of the Rosenau, with a flag flying from the round tower to left. Signed and dated "D. Morison 1845".

In August 1845 Queen Victoria visited Germany for the first time, in company with her husband Prince Albert. The ma
The importance of Germany

As the birthplace of both the Queen's mother and Albert, Germany was close to the hearts of the royal couple

A watercolour showing the funeral procession of the Duke of Wellington passing Apsley House before proceeding along Piccadilly. SIgned and dated bottom right: L Haghe / 1854.
The Duke - a national hero due to his victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Wat
Ceremonial and spectacle

Victoria and Albert's marriage encompassed events of national and international importance

A watercolour depicting exhibits by local Sheffield manufacturers, especially in steel, such as grates and fenders. Signed and dated at bottom left: J. Nash 1851. 
In his capacity as President of the Society of Arts, Prince Albert set up a committee to or
The Great Exhibition

The Great Exhibition was visited by more than six million people in its five-month run

A watercolour view of the colourful interior of the Royal Mausoleum at Frogmore, looking from the chapel of the Nativity (with the corner of the statue of Princess Alice seen on the left), diagonally across to the Chapel of the Altar with Prince Albert's
Memorialising Albert

Queen Victoria was distraught at Prince Albert’s unexpected death

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.