Queen Victoria's artistic tastes go on show
By Isabel Coles
LONDON (Reuters Life!) - An intimate portrait of Queen Victoria with her hair down -- belying her traditional frumpy image -- and a painting she commissioned of an American lion tamer form part of an exhibition at the Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace.
"Victoria & Albert: Art and Love" brings together over 400 items collected by the couple during their 21 years of marriage, from 1840 until Albert's death in 1861.
"What we tried to do with the exhibition was bring out that it was really a partnership: that they inspired each other to collect and commission works of art. That's why we've called it Art and Love," said curator Kathryn Jones.
The exhibition is arranged chronologically, beginning with the royal couple's engagement portraits along with a giant family portrait by German artist Franz Winterhalter and a picture of Prince Albert's beloved greyhound, Eos.
Around a third of the objects in the exhibition were exchanged as gifts between the couple to mark special occasions.
Winterhalter's oil painting of Queen Victoria was meant only for Prince Albert's eyes. A secret birthday present from the queen to her husband, it depicts the queen with her hair down, wearing a pendant containing a lock of the Prince's hair.
The prince immediately declared it his favorite portrait of Victoria.
"We wanted to reinterpret Victoria and Albert, particularly Queen Victoria," Jones told Reuters. "Everyone has that image of her as an old widow in black, and we wanted to bring out the younger side of her." Continued...