Both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert enjoyed exploring their artistic sides, and this summer a series of 20 never-before-seen etchings created by the couple will go on view at the British Museum. The museum will host a free display titled “At Home: Royal Etchings by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert,” beginning in July.
Victoria and Albert took up etching as newlyweds in the 1840s and created the pieces by drawing on metal plates. Multiple copies of an etching could be made, and it’s thought they gave them as gifts to family members and close friends.
The etchings feature their children and pets, painting a picture of their day-to-day lives that show Queen Victoria and Prince Albert taking part in affectionate family scenes. Some of the works were collaborations between the couple, who were “enthusiastic artists” and, as evidenced by their work, quite talented ones as well.
Victoria’s grandson, King George V, donated the etchings to the British Museum in 1926, despite her wishes to keep them private. However, this year – the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth – is the first time they’ve been put on display by the museum.
“As parents, both Victoria and Albert have been much criticised, but these images show them in a completely different light,” said Sheila O’Connell, curator of prints and drawings at the British Museum. “The scenes Victoria depicts in her drawings show her to be a very affectionate mother, and it’s clear that both she and Albert enjoyed spending time with their children.
“We’re delighted that we can now put these works on display for the first time since King George V donated them to us. It is the perfect way to celebrate 200 years since the birth of these towering figures of British history, who were also enthusiastic artists.”
The exhibit will open on 18th July and runs until September; admission to the British Museum is free and there is no additional charge for the Victoria and Albert display.