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Royal Gardens

Depictions of the gardens at Windsor Castle and other royal residences


Osborne House from below the terrace

Aug 1851

RCIN 919847

A watercolour of Osborne House and the terrace. At the bottom of a flight of steps, flanked by two stone lions, groups of ladies with children. Inscribed 'August 1851'.

Osborne House on the Isle of Wight was a summer retreat built for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert between 1845 and 1851, designed by Albert himself in the style of an Italian palazzo. The stone lions shown here at the foot of the steps, copied from the antique, were acquired in January 1851, and were in place by 9 March 1851.The groups of children possibly include Princess Helena and Princess Louise, described by their mother as 'looking extremely pretty in little blue silk polkas, with white silk hats' (Journal, 15 August 1851). Another version of this watercolour is in a private collection.

William Leighton Leitch was one of Queen Victoria's favourite watercolour artists, and she commissioned many watercolours from him for her View Albums. Leitch also taught watercolour to the Queen and her children. He stayed at Osborne from 31 July 1851 and for most of August that year. 

This watercolour was originally mounted in View Album V. 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.

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