Carly's illustrated talk will explore Victoria and Albert's shared love for the arts. Using examples drawn from the Royal Collection, she will provide a broad overview of their collecting across a variety of disciplines – from works on paper to paintings, architecture and sculpture, decorative arts and the new and exciting technology of photography. Victoria and Albert were also talented amateur artists themselves, and Carly will demonstrate how their taste and knowledge of the arts was underpinned by practical experimentation. Above all, Carly's talk will illuminate the very personal nature of the royal couple's enjoyment of the arts and reveal how – in the presents they regularly made to one another of works of art of all different types – they expressed their mutual love and devotion.
The arts were an important shared enthusiasm of Queen Victoria and her consort, Prince Albert, throughout their marriage. Of particular personal significance for them were the hundreds of watercolors they commissioned to form a pictorial record of their public and private lives together, which they arranged in a series of volumes, called by Victoria the "View Albums." Themes of these watercolors ranged from events in the lives of the royal family to the spectacle and pageantry of the court, from the Crimean War to the industrialization of the Victorian age.
Both Queen Victoria & Prince Albert had an outstanding collection of watercolors, some of which have never been published or publicly exhibited before. Through these watercolors, illuminates subtle and striking aspects of Victoria's reign and the royal couple's private life and interests.
Carly Collier is an independent art historian. She was previously, first, Assistant Curator of Prints and Drawings (2016-2020) and then Assistant Curator of Photographs (2021-2022) at Royal Collection Trust. Her research interests lay in nineteenth-century British art, collecting and taste. She curated the recent Royal Collection Trust touring exhibition (UK only) Victoria & Albert: Our Lives in Watercolour (2019-21), which commemorated the bicentenary of the births of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The exhibition presented 80 colourful, dynamic watercolours acquired by the royal couple which captured the pomp and spectacle of the British court, foreign travel and diplomacy, the exploration and shaping of a modern nation and, importantly, the close-knit family at the heart of it all. Carly authored a fully illustrated publication to accompany the exhibition and has written and presented widely on the Victorian art in the Royal Collection, including for the BBC and in the recent documentary Prince Albert: A Victorian Hero Revealed (available on PBS).