Throughout their marriage, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were enthusiastic patrons (and practitioners) of the art of watercolour painting. They formed a collection of thousands of watercolours, many illustrating scenes of their public and private lives, and often spent happy evenings together organising their acquisitions into albums. These colourful, dynamic watercolours capture the pomp and spectacle of the British court, foreign travel and diplomacy, the exploration and shaping of a modern nation and, importantly, the close-knit family at the heart of it all.
The collection also demonstrates Victoria and Albert’s deep love for Scotland, an affection sparked by their first visit to the country in 1842 and nurtured over subsequent trips. Many of the works are by Scottish artists or capture happy memories from the couple’s Scottish tours, including incognito expeditions through the Highlands, balls and fétes at Balmoral and atmospheric views over Edinburgh and Holyrood Abbey.