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Victoria and Albert Residences

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These works record the Queen and Prince Albert’s achievements as builders and decorators. At Buckingham Palace they added a new east wing, fitted out with materials salvaged from Brighton Pavilion, and a colossal Ballroom to the south, decorated in a colourful scheme inspired by the Italian Renaissance. At Windsor they employed the sculptor-designer John Thomas on intricate decorative schemes such as the Royal Dairy and Audience Room.

Both the Queen and Prince found solace in the Highlands of Scotland, building an entirely new ‘baronial’ castle on the Balmoral estate. The principal rooms were hung with tartan and Scottish devices such as thistles were much employed in the decorations.

Osborne House on the Isle of Wight was intended both as a summer retreat and a place for the display of important works of art. Designed by Prince Albert himself with the contractor, Thomas Cubitt, it incorporated a sculpture gallery to which new specimens were steadily added. The house remains the most important surviving example of the tastes of the royal couple.