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Royal Collectors: Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and their Art Susan Owens Thursday 13 June 2019

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert expressed their love for each other through art. Every birthday and Christmas they exchanged gifts of paintings, sculpture and jewellery, and they commissioned artists to record their lives together at Balmoral and Osborne House. They were keen amateur artists, sitting side-by-side to draw and to try their hand at etching. And they took pleasure in arranging their collection of portrait miniatures, drawings and prints in a special room the prince designed at Windsor Castle. 

We will look not only at glamorous paintings by artists such as Landseer and Winterhalter, but also at the more personal watercolours the couple took pleasure in arranging in their treasured ‘souvenir albums’. This lecture tells the story of these royal patrons and collectors who were every bit as passionate about art as they were about each other. 

Dr Susan Owens is an art historian, writer and curator. She studied English literature at Oxford University and European art at the Courtauld Institute, then wrote a doctoral thesis on Aubrey Beardsley’s illustrations to Oscar Wilde’s play Salome at University College London. She worked as a curator for the Royal Collection before becoming Curator of Paintings at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Susan has written or co-authored books on decadent interiors, natural history illustration, watercolours, drawings and self-portraits, and is a regular contributor to publications including the Times Literary Supplement, the Literary Reviewand The World of Interiors. Now freelance, Susan lives in Suffolk. Her book The Ghost: A Cultural History, was published in 2017 and Christina Rossetti: Poetry in Art  in 2018. She is currently writing a book about the British landscape in art and literature.