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The Souvenir Albums

The Queen and Prince enjoyed a rapturous welcome during their State Visit to France in 1855.This watercolour, commissioned by the Emperor Napoleon III, records a gala performance of opera and ballet extracts given in their honour the Queen and her compani

The Gala Performance at the Paris Opéra ©

Throughout their married life, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert commissioned watercolours recording places they had visited and events they had attended. These works were mounted in a series of ‘Souvenir Albums’, which acted as a visual counterpart to the Queen’s written Journals. The royal couple spent time together arranging the drawings and captioning the pages.

The albums were kept in precise chronological order, and the chosen artists were expected to work to a strict size limit. The albums became an important record of the couple’s happy life, and they travelled with the Queen when she moved around the country. In the 1920s the individual works were remounted in a new sequence. Queen Victoria also received commemorative albums as gifts. Among these was an album presented by Emperor Napoleon III and the Empress Eugénie to commemorate the Queen’s visit to Paris in 1855, which included the spectacular view of a performance at the Paris Opéra by Eugène Lami and Jules Diéterle.