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Detail from Hayter's painting of Victoria and Albert's marriage, showing the pair holding hands at the alter with onlookers in the background

The arts were a great shared passion of Victoria and Albert

London: John Murray,

Plate from Ludwig Gruner and Anna Brownell Jameson 'The Decorations of the Garden Pavilion in the grounds of Buckingham Palace' 1845

RCIN 708005

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Prince Albert played a leading role in nineteenth-century British cultural life. One particular initiative he championed was the use of fresco painting – closely associated with celebrated Italian Renaissance artists such Raphael and Michelangelo – to decorate the new Houses of Parliament, rebuilt 1840-70.

To facilitate an opportunity to practise this unfamiliar medium, in 1844 the Prince commissioned eight leading British artists to decorate a newly-built garden pavilion at Buckingham Palace with frescoes illustrating scenes from John Milton’s masque Comus.