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Newcastle in the reign of Queen Victoria

The architectural development of Newcastle during the 19th century established the city we recognise today. Numerous architects and planners were responsible for major projects just before and during Queen Victoria’s reign but perhaps none more than John Dobson (1787- 1865). His work in the city and alongside Richard Grainger resulted in some of the grandest buildings shaping the elegant city Victoria would have seen when she visited.

In 1849 the High Level Bridge was completed, bringing the railway to Newcastle and onward to Scotland. A station was required for the city. John Dobson was appointed and his plans were to result in arguably one of the finest train stations in the country, opened by Queen Victoria in 1850.

The Laing collection includes an exquisite selection of watercolours by Dobson illustrating both his planned and completed buildings, including Central Station.

Laing Watercolours

The Laing Art Gallery holds an important historical collection of watercolours. Works by JMW Turner, Thomas Girtin, David Cox, Samuel Palmer and John Wilson Carmichael feature alongside the John Dobson watercolours on display. Amongst the collection are a number of watercolours by 19th century artists also commissioned by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

This display showcases the Laing’s watercolours by these artists including: William Wyld who commemorated a visit to Liverpool and Manchester; Louis Haghe who painted informal scenes in the royal palaces; Richard Principal Leitch who captured scenes in the Channel Islands for the Queen and Prince; and Joseph Nash.