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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

Joseph Nash (1809-1878)

The Great Exhibition: the Stained Glass Gallery dated 1852

RCIN 919941

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This watercolour depicts a view of the stained glass gallery at the Great Exhibition of 1851. Prince Albert played an important role in devising the concept of the exhibition, which was intended to showcase the greatest achievements in art and design from around the world and thereby help to improve native manufacturing, and in leading its organisation. Queen Victoria and other members of the Royal Family were at the inauguration of the Great Exhibition and visited the exhibition hall on numerous occasions, always delighting in seeing new things.

As a record of the undertaking, Prince Albert commissioned a number of artists to execute views of the various exhibits, which were then reproduced as illustrations in a two-volume publication. These watercolours include a variety of visitors enjoying and engaging with the displays, reflecting the overriding didactic aim of the Great Exhibition.