Monday, January 25, 2010

Royal Art from the Heart

If you enjoyed the recent film "The Young Victoria," which centered on the early years of the queen's reign and her marriage to Prince Albert, be sure to put this exhibition on your "must see" list.

From 19 March, the Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace presents "Victoria and Albert: Art and Love," the first exhibition to focus on the couple's shared love and enthusiasm for art. It will bring together more than 400 items from across the Royal Collection, celebrating Victoria and Albert's delight in collecting and displaying works of art from the time of their engagement in 1839 to the prince’s death in 1861.

Several pieces in the exhibition are gifts from one to the other, such as an orange blossom parure designed by Albert, the pieces of which he gave to Victoria over a period of six years.

For her part, the queen showered Albert with gifts of art, including portraits of herself. She referred to this painting by Franz Xaver Winterhalter (below), showing her in romantic deshabille, as the "secret painting." It was a surprise gift to the prince on his 24th birthday and hung in his waiting room at Windsor, where the queen referred to it as "my darling Albert’s favourite picture." The painting shown above right, also by Winterhalter, was another gift to Albert, showing Victoria in her wedding dress and given to the prince in 1847 on their seventh wedding anniversary.

Beyond the upcoming exhibition, the Royal Collection has a magnificent illustrated set of web pages detailing the royal couple's art acquisitions...more than 1,000 in all, ranging from exquisite lockets, bracelets, and pendants to maps, books, photos, paintings, and fans. Definitely worth a detailed browse.


A said...

Gorgeous gifts! Who could be upset about those?

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