IN February we revealed how Queen Victoria was an accomplished artist, but now her daughter’s skills have been highlighted by a Surrey auction.
ATG No 2027 covered a Dominic Winter sale
from November 25 in which six etchings by the UK's longest-serving
monarch, dating from 1831-45, made £6600.
They all depicted her children, but on March
21-22 at Ewbank Clarke Gammon Wellers in Send Marsh,
near Woking, Surrey, the focus was on an album of paintings and
drawings created by her sixth child, Princess Louise
It sold to a London dealer in the room after
a lengthy bidding battle for £27,000 against an estimate of
£6000-10,000. The underbidder was another London dealer on the
The album had been hidden for years in a
house in Hampshire and is a long-lost record of places visited on
Princess Louise's 1871-72 honeymoon in Europe and the Scottish
Highlands following her marriage to the Marquis of Lorne, later
Duke of Argyll.
Auctioneer Chris Ewbank compared the
handwritten annotations on many of the 74 watercolours, ink
sketches and pencil drawings with details in the most recent
biography of the princess and concluded they must have been drawn
and painted as the couple travelled.
"Although we have no proof, we believe the
album may have been included in the Christie's auction of the
contents of Bagshot Park, now the home of Prince Edward, the Earl
of Wessex, and his wife Sophie, in 1942 following the death of
Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, Princess Louise's
brother," he said.
"Since then it had been in the possession of
our vendor's family and for the last 12 years had been hidden away
"The British historian Jehanne Wake wrote a
new biography of Princess Louise in 1988 which gives a great deal
of previously unpublished details, including a note of the places
she visited on her honeymoon, so it was relatively straightforward
to match the annotated drawings, making the discovery of the album
even more exciting."
Mr Ewbank added that Louise was regarded as
"the most artistically talented of Queen Victoria's daughters".
"As well as being an able actress, pianist
and dancer, she was a prolific artist and sculptress and this
certainly shows in the album pictures. However, very few paintings
by her have been on the open market in recent times," he said.
The earliest sketches are from Germany and
dated April 14, 1871.
Other pictures in the album date from later
in the 1870s and '80s, including some from Marienbad, now in the
Czech Republic, in August 1877, and watercolours from Canada which
would have been painted when her husband was Governor General from
A handwritten frontispiece to the album
penned by Princess Louise reads:
In nature's presence many a
Proclaimed aloud his feelings
When silent I with hasty sketch
Would paint her language with my
Thus something of the joy she
For other days I tried to save;
And make the scenes I gathered
If not to art to memory dear
Antiques Trade Gazette is the weekly bible of the fine art and antiques industry. Read articles like this every week in the Antiques Trade Gazette or ATG app. Click here to subscribe today.