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

From Caledonia to the Continent

Scottish Artists 1750 – 1900: From Caledonia to the Continent¸The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London SW1, until 9th October 2016

Allan Ramsay, Queen Charlotte with her two Eldest Sons, c.1764-9 Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Allan Ramsay, Queen Charlotte with her two Eldest Sons, c.1764-9
Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

This is a somewhat personal exhibition in the fact that it reveals royal patronage of Scottish artists starting with George III’s of Allan Ramsay who painted the King’s well known State portrait and was appointed Principal Painter in Ordinary to His Majesty.  He also painted a delightful picture of Queen Charlotte and her Two Eldest Sons which conveys an atmosphere of domesticity in what is obviously a royal portrait.

Sir David Wilkie, The Penny Wedding, 1818 Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Sir David Wilkie, The Penny Wedding, 1818
Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

One can easily see why George IV, as Prince Regent and King, liked the work of Sir David Wilkie since his scenes of everyday Scottish life echo the Dutch genre paintings so loved by the monarch. Following Wilkie’s trip to Continental Europe after a nervous breakdown he returned with a much more open style of painting and in 1828 George purchased five of his continental works, including ones set in Spain and appointed him as his Principal Painter in Ordinary. A post that Wilkie continued to hold under William IV and Queen Victoria until his death in 1841.

James Giles, A View of Balmoral,1848 Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

James Giles, A View of Balmoral,1848
Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

 

David Roberts, A View of Cairo, 1840 Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

David Roberts, A View of Cairo, 1840
Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert (Prince Consort) were active supporters of the Arts and some Scottish artists such as Sir Joseph Noël Paton (1821–1901), David Roberts (1796–1864), James Giles (1801–1870) and John Phillip (1817–1867) painted pictures that were Christmas and birthday presents between the couple.  Queen Victoria favoured Scottish landscapes while Prince Albert, an admirer of early Italian art, was impressed by the works of William Dyce. Their interests also included works depicting the Middle East and Spanish life.

William Dyce, The Madonna and Child, 1845 Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

William Dyce, The Madonna and Child, 1845
Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

 

John Phillip, The Letter Writer of Seville, 1854 Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

John Phillip, The Letter Writer of Seville, 1854
Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

In 1888 the future Edward VII was presented with two albums of works by member of the Glasgow Art Club when he went to open the Glasgow International Exhibition of Science, Art and Industry in the city’s Kelvingrove Park, including the one shown here.

Roberts Macaulay Stevenson, Romance, 1888 Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Roberts Macaulay Stevenson, Romance, 1888
Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

There is also a group of furniture – a writing table and a pair of tables – supplied by the Edinburgh firm of Young, Trotter and Hamilton to the Palace of Holyroodhouse for the comte d’Artois, younger brother of Louis XVI and the future Charles X of France.  Fleeing from large debts on the Continent he was offered shelter at Holryroodhouse in 1796 and remained there until 1803.

Writing table, 1796, mahogany and boxwood Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Writing table, 1796, mahogany and boxwood
Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

 

www.royalcollection.org.uk