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Major Exhibition to Paint a New Picture of Queen Victoria
"Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II", Franz Xaver Winterhalter, Florinda, 1852. Photo: Royal Collection (c) 2009.
LONDON.- An exhibition at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace next year is set to challenge the popular image of Queen Victoria. Opening in March 2010, "Victoria & Albert: Art & Love" will focus on the period of Victoria’s marriage to Prince Albert, from the time of their engagement to the Prince’s untimely death in 1861. Through 400 works from across the entire Royal Collection, including paintings, drawings, photographs, jewelery and sculpture, Queen Victoria emerges as a romantic and open-minded young woman, a far cry from the dour widow of 40 years with which we are so familiar.

The exhibition is the first ever to examine the couple’s shared enthusiasm for art, as well as their individual tastes. For Victoria and Albert, art was an important part of everyday life and a way they expressed their love for each other. Around a third of the objects in the exhibition were exchanged as gifts between the couple to mark special occasions. They range from the simple and sentimental, such as a beautiful set of jewelery in the form of orange blossom, to superb examples of early Italian painting, including Bernardo Daddi’s "The Marriage of the Virgin", given by the Queen to the Prince for his birthday in 1846.

Jonathan Marsden, Deputy Surveyor of The Queen's Works of Art and the exhibition’s chief curator said, ’This exhibition will overturn the popular image of Queen Victoria and reveal an energetic, passionate young woman who delighted in the company of artists, musicians and performers, and who idolized the opera and ballet stars of the time.

‘Commissioning and exchanging art was at the very heart of Victoria and Albert’s relationship. Such a shared enthusiasm for collecting has not been seen at any other stage in the history of the British crown.’

The exhibition "Victoria & Albert: Art & Love", will be on view at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace from March 19 to October 31, 2010.

The Queen's Gallery | Buckingham Palace | Victoria & Albert | Jonathan Marsden |

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