Friday, April 16, 2010
Victoria & Albert, Art & Love
For those of us who continue our fascination with Queen Victoria and who have poured over every detail in the current film The Young Victoria, here is special treat: Victoria & Albert, Art & Love is currently on exhibit at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace. I almost hesitate to tell enthusiasts about this...we may want to lock up our family jewels, less we sacrifice them for some of the delicious objects for sale in the gallery's shop. So promise me, before you start to read this, that you will be prudent.
The exhibition focuses on the gifts that the loving couple gave to each other. It is no surprise to those of us who have poured over Victoria's journals and delighted in her watercolors of her children, that she had a taste for art. And also not a revelation that her dear Albert, always her muse, had a most sophisticated eye. With the magic of this wonderful instrument we write our emails on, you can see many of the items the two gave as tokens of affection to one another--and at the same time, they were supporting artists in all realms.
Birthdays and anniversaries were for Victoria and Albert, as they are for all us, the occasion to delight a recipient with the most personal and meaningful of gifts. For example, for his 24th birthday, Victoria presented Albert with a portrait of his favorite dog painted by a distinguished English artist of the time. And at the birth of each child, Albert gave Victoria a charm for her bracelet...nine charms in all, of course.
Prince Albert's brilliance and talents are properly displayed at The Queen's Gallery--and makes even sadder his untimely death at 42. Victoria mourned her Prince and the nation lost a man who might have done so much more.
PS - A catalog of the exhibit is available for order on Amazon, and The Young Victoria is also now available on DVD.
Artworks shown: Portrait by Franz Xaver Winterhalter commissioned by Queen Victoria for Albert on his birthday; Ceramic inkstand commissioned by Prince Albert; Archie and Annie MacDonald, watercolor by Queen Victoria; I know my position, Sir!, watercolor by Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, with Edward Corbould