Watercolours collected by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to go on display

The Victoria & Albert: Our Lives in Watercolour exhibition will open at The Queen’s Gallery in the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, on Monday.

Edinburgh watercolour
Edinburgh watercolour

An exhibition of 80 watercolours collected by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert is to go on display in Edinburgh.

Victoria & Albert: Our Lives in Watercolour will open at The Queen’s Gallery in the Palace of Holyroodhouse on Monday as coronavirus restrictions are eased.

It will feature numerous works by Scottish artists, with many on display in Scotland for the first time.

The royal yacht sailing into Granton Pier
The royal yacht sailing into Granton Pier in 1842 (Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II/PA)

Victoria and Albert were passionate about watercolour painting and spent many evenings together organising thousands of works into albums.

The pair commissioned artists to depict the places they visited, including William Wyld’s romanticised view of Manchester which was painted to record their visit in 1851.

A watercolour by William Leighton Leitch depicting the royal yacht sailing into Granton Pier, one of those on display for the first time, was painted when they arrived in Edinburgh for their first tour of Scotland in 1842.

Victoria wrote afterwards: “Edinburgh made a great impression upon us, it is quite beautiful and totally unlike anything I have seen.”

The Palace of Holyroodhouse is also the subject of several works in the exhibition, including a watercolour of Edinburgh at sunset by the Dunfermline-born painter Waller Hugh Paton.

Queen Victoria at the unveiling of the statue of Prince Albert
William Simpson’s painting of Queen Victoria at the unveiling of the statue of Prince Albert in Edinburgh in 1876 (Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2020/PA)

Another work on display for the first time is a watercolour by Richard Principal Leitch depicting one of four “Great Expeditions” made before Albert’s death, when the royal party were led on horseback across the river by the Falls of Tarff at the head of Glen Tilt.

Victoria can also be seen in a watercolour by Glaswegian artist William Simpson in mourning clothes at the unveiling of the memorial to Albert in Edinburgh’s Charlotte Square in 1876.

The exhibition runs until October 3, however the palace and The Queen’s Gallery are closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Visitor information and tickets for The Queen’s Gallery can be found online at www.rct.uk.

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