QUEEN VICTORIA (1819-1901) AND PRINCE ALBERT (1819-1861)
A PRESENTATION ALBUM OF 80 ETCHINGS BY QUEEN VICTORIA AND PRINCE ALBERT. [WINDSOR CASTLE, 1840-1848]
Folio (340 x 485mm.), 80 PROOF ETCHINGS by Queen Victoria (57) and Prince Albert (23), ON INDIA PAPER, individually mounted on card, recto only, original purple morocco gilt by Bignell (with gilt stamp), covers with gilt rule borders, upper cover titled "ETCHINGS" and with crowned initials of Queen Victoria ["VR"] and Prince Albert ["A"] in gilt, spine in six compartments with raised bands gilt, title and crowned initials on spine in gilt, purple moire endpapers, morocco doublures, gilt edges, occasional light spotting, expert repairs to spine ends, upper joint starting
Condition is described in the main body of the cataloguing, where appropriate.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion. Illustrations in the catalogue may not be actual size. Prospective purchasers are reminded that, unless the catalogue description specifically states that a stone is natural, we have assumed that some form of treatment may have been used and that such treatment may not be permanent. Our presale estimates reflect this assumption.Certificates of Authenticity: Various manufacturers may not issue certificates of authenticity upon request. Sotheby's is not under an obligation to furnish the purchaser with a certificate of authenticity from the manufacturer at any time. Unless the requirements for a rescission of the sale under the Terms of Guarantee are satisfied, the failure of a manufacturer to issue a certificate will not constitute grounds to rescind the sale. Gemological Certificates and Reports: References in the catalogue descriptions to certificates or reports issued by gemological laboratories are provided only for the information of bidders, and Sotheby's does not guarantee and accepts no responsibility for the accuracy, terms or information contained in such certificates or reports. Please also note that laboratories may differ in their assessment of a gemstone (including its origin and presence, type and extent of treatments) and their certificates or reports may contain different results.NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Presented by Queen Victoria to Sir Theodore Martin KCB KCVO (1816-1909)
Aydua H. Scott-Elliot, "The Etchings by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert" in Bulletin of the New York Public Library, vol. 65, no. 3 (March 1961), pp. 139-153
A MAGNIFICENT ALBUM OF RARE ETCHINGS MADE BY QUEEN VICTORIA AND PRINCE ALBERT INCLUDING DOMESTIC SCENES OF THEIR LIFE IN WINDSOR AND CLAREMONT, MANY FEATURING THEIR BELOVED CHILDREN AND DOGS. THIS VOLUME PRESENTED BY QUEEN VICTORIA TO PRINCE ALBERT'S OFFICIAL BIOGRAPHER SIR THEODORE MARTIN.
A talented amateur artist, Queen Victoria took up etching as a pastime hobby, having been introduced to the art by her husband soon after their marriage in February 1840. Their first etchings were made on 28 August 1840, guided by Sir George Hayter and later by Sir Edwin Landseer. The royal couple etched frequently for about four years, the Queen being the more prolific, producing sixty-two plates as against the Prince's twenty-five. The plates were etched at Windsor Castle, sometimes with both Victoria and Albert working together on the same plate, and it is believed some proof impressions were pulled from a small press there. Some of the plates (though largely the proofs) were bit and printed by the Queen's dresser Marianne Skerrett, though most were re-bit and printed by Colnaghi. However, very few of each of the etchings were printed, the pastime being largely for the royal couple's own amusement; an occasional print and a very few sets, like the present, were distributed as gifts.
"The etchings offer a picture of the interests of the royal couple in their early married years. The prince had a keen interest in art and the Old Masters; he introduced Queen Victoria to German romantic literature and Goethe and Schiller in particular. Prince Albert read to the Queen from Schiller's works. Their family absorbed them and the children and dogs play an important role in the etching subject-matter" (The British Museum).
Two complete sets of the etchings are known: the Royal Collection includes a complete set of etchings, as well as many proofs, kept by Queen Victoria; a second set was presented by King George V to the British Museum in 1926 and were first put on public display at the museum this summer (July to September 2019). The present nearly complete album was presented to Sir Theodore Martin, the official biographer of the Prince Consort in 1869. Martin's biography, Queen Victoria as I Knew Her (1901) recounts the receipt of this album along with the now lost letter that originally accompanied it: "Of Her Majesty's executive power as an artist I cannot speak, as what I know of her work is confined to a few slight sketches, and the etchings which she made, when Prince Albert and herself were for a time fascinated by that attractive but difficult process. Of these I owe to the Queen's kindness a complete series. They came with the following note:- 'Osborne, May 3, 1869. The Queen sends Mr Martin to-day a volume of the beloved Prince's and her own etchings, which she has had purposely bound for him, and which she hopes he will place in his library, as a trifling recollection of his kindness in carrying out so many of her wishes."'
The album offered here includes all but five of Queen Victoria's etchings and all but two of Prince Albert's. The etchings not included are generally reworkings of other etchings present. A complete list of the etchings in this volume is available upon request.