Grand Canal, Venice, Italy
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This is one of a series of watercolours by Callow of royal palaces drawn in the summer of 1863. Prince Albert had recently died and Callow records in his autobiography:
‘.....I thought that some drawings of Coburg, Rheinhardsbrunn and other royal palaces with which he had been connected would be of interest to the public, so I wrote to the Duchess Augustus of Saxe-Coburg, formerly my pupil, Princess Clementine, asking her to obtain permission for me to sketch at these palaces, which she readily obtained. In August 1863 we arrived at Coburg.... (at the Palace) I was welcomed by the Duke and Duchess and their daughters, to whom I showed my sketches. The Duchess requested me to leave them with her, as she was going to Rosenau to see Queen Victoria...'
Callow was summoned to see the Queen at the Chateau, where he was ‘duly presented, but Her Majesty graciously said, ‘I remember Mr Callow perfectly.' After looking through my sketches, and expressing her admiration for them, the Queen told me of a number of places of interest which I ought to visit and sketch.' (H.M. Cundall, William Callow - An Autobiography, 1908, p.121).
The Queen commissioned eight watercolours from Callow, including a view of Coburg, for which he was paid £105 on 22nd January 1864.