Queen Victoria in Paris

Queen Victoria in Paris: Watercolours from the Royal Collection, Compton Verney, Warwickshire, CV35 9HZ, until 11th December 2016

Antoine Léon Morel-Fatio (1810-71) Royal visit to Napoleon III: Queen Victoria landing at Boulogne, 18 August 1855 Watercolour © Royal Collection Trust 2016

Antoine Léon Morel-Fatio (1810-71)
Royal visit to Napoleon III: Queen Victoria landing at Boulogne, 18 August 1855
Watercolour
© Royal Collection Trust 2016

This special exhibition commemorates the State Visit of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert (with their two eldest children) to Paris in August 1855 and followed a State Visit to Windsor in April of that year by the Emperor Napoleon III and his consort the Empress Eugénie.  It was part of cementing the alliance between Britain and France in the Crimean War.  The forty-four watercolours, generously loaned by Her Majesty the Queen, depict the major events of the nine day visit from their arrival at Boulogne aboard the Royal Yacht onwards.

Eugène-Charles-François Guérard (1821-66) Royal visit to Napoleon III: Queen Victoria's entry into Paris, 18 August 1855 Watercolour © Royal Collection Trust 2016

Eugène-Charles-François Guérard (1821-66)
Royal visit to Napoleon III: Queen Victoria’s entry into Paris, 18 August 1855
Watercolour
© Royal Collection Trust 2016

The watercolours, half of which are being publicly shown for the first time, were either presented to or commissioned by Queen Victoria and became one of her ‘Souvenir Albums’ that recorded events in her marriage to Prince Albert.  I find them all of great interest but am specially drawn to those of her apartments in the Palais de Saint Cloud.

Jean-Baptiste-Fortuné De Fournier (1798-1864) Royal visit to Napoleon III: Queen Victoria's dressing-room at St Cloud Watercolour © Royal Collection Trust 2016

Jean-Baptiste-Fortuné De Fournier (1798-1864)
Royal visit to Napoleon III: Queen Victoria’s dressing-room at St Cloud
Watercolour
© Royal Collection Trust 2016

The significance of the Queen’s visit is summed up by Rosie Razzall, Curator of Prints and Drawings, Royal Collection Trust: “This was a pivotal period in British and French history. After centuries of enmity, France and Britain were never again to fight on opposing sides. A visiting head of state was not received with such popular fervour in France until the Kennedys in 1961, and has been unmatched since.

Max Berthelin (1811-77) Royal visit to Napoleon III: illuminations at the Hôtel de Ville, 23 August 1855 Watercolour © Royal Collection Trust 2016

Max Berthelin (1811-77)
Royal visit to Napoleon III: illuminations at the Hôtel de Ville, 23 August 1855
Watercolour
© Royal Collection Trust 2016

After Compton Verney this touring exhibition goes on to the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter; The Wilson: Cheltenham Museum and Art Gallery; and the Bowes Museum, County Durham.

Eugène Louis Lami (1800-90) Royal visit to Napoleon III: the supper in the Salle de Spectacle, Versailles, 25 August 1855 Watercolour © Royal Collection Trust 2016

Eugène Louis Lami (1800-90)
Royal visit to Napoleon III: the supper in the Salle de Spectacle, Versailles, 25 August 1855
Watercolour
© Royal Collection Trust 2016

http://www.comptonverney.org.uk

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