William Leighton Leitch
A watercolour of Osborne House and the terrace. At the bottom of a flight of steps, flanked by two stone lions, groups of ladies with children. Inscribed 'August 1851'. Osborne House on the Isle of Wight was a summer retreat built for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert between 1845 and 1851, designed by Albert himself in the style of an Italian palazzo. The stone lions shown here at the foot of the steps, copied from the antique, were acquired in January 1851, and were in place by 9 March 1851. William Leighton Leitch was one of Queen Victoria's favourite watercolour artists, and she commissioned many watercolours from him for her Souvenir Albums. Leitch also taught watercolour to the Queen and her children. He stayed at Osborne from 31 July 1851 and for most of August that year. The groups of children possibly include Princess Helena and Princess Louise, described by their mother as 'looking extremely pretty in little blue silk polkas, with white silk hats' (Journal, 15 August 1851). Another version of this watercolour is in a private collection.
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