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Queen Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom (1819-1901)

Eos dated 4 Oct 1840

Hand coloured etching | 11.6 x 15.2 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 816796

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Queen Victoria was keen to improve her watercolour skills, possibly inspired by some of her artistic ladiesin- waiting. After a short series of lessons with Edward Lear, she was taught by the Scottish landscape painter William Leighton Leitch for 22 years. Leitch was a thorough teacher, instructing his royal pupil in composition, light, shade and colour, as can be seen here in the Queen’s own practice sheet, accompanied by his detailed instructions on painting a moonlight scene.

Victoria’s early love of painting endured throughout her life – the Royal Collection includes over 50 sketchbooks and albums filled with her work. She enjoyed painting in nature, sketching frequently on her annual visits to Scotland and travels in Europe. Leitch noted that the widowed Queen achieved some solace through her sketchbook and colour box.