Osborne House, East Cowes, Isle of Wight, England
Queen Victoria landing at Boulogne, 18 August 1855 c.1865-1900
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From the Collection
A watercolour showing Queen Victoria landing at Boulogne on 18 August 1855. After a watercolour by Antoine Léon Morel-Fatio (RCIN 451380). A large crowd is shown assembled in the foreground, either side of a red carpet. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert are shown disembarking down a gangplank from the Royal Yacht behind. French dignitaries are shown waiting on the red carpet, which leads to an ornamental canopy and waiting carriage. Further ships are shown alongside the quay, which is lined with troops. Hills are shown on the shore in the background.
In August 1855 Queen Victoria and Prince Albert spent ten days in Paris, on the invitation of Napoleon III and his wife Eugénie. The historic state visit was intended to celebrate the military alliance between Britain and France in the Crimean War, and followed a visit by the imperial couple to Windsor in April that year. The party set off from Osborne House on the Isle of Wight on 18 August, arriving at Boulogne at about 1.15pm. The steam powered Royal Yacht was accompanied by a squadron of ships arranged by the Admiralty. Queen Victoria describes how they "steamed slowly into Boulogne, amidst the cheers of numbers of people. The pier was lined with troops...The scene [was] a very brilliant one". Napoleon III greeted the royal party in the harbour before the group travelled onwards by train to Paris.
Antoine-Léon Morel-Fatio travelled to the Crimea in 1854 as part of an expeditionary force. He was appointed conservator of the musée de la marine, the naval section of the Louvre museum in 1852. He had made watercolours of the Queen's arrival at Tréport for Louis-Philippe in 1843. Morel-Fatio was paid 500 francs on 10 December 1855 (Arch Mus. Nat. 2DD25, DP164) for his watercolour of the Queen's arrival at Boulogne, which was mounted along with another nine watercolours in an album sent to Queen Victoria at Christmas 1855 by Napoleon III and Eugénie. At Victoria's command, it was later removed from the album and framed and hung at Osborne House, and she commissioned a copy (RCIN 920057) to replace the original in her album. Queen Victoria did commission other artists to make copies of her album watercolours for hanging or to give as gifts to family and friends. This copy by Princess Louise, Victoria and Albert's sixth child and fourth daughter, is undated; Louise was a talented artist who worked in a variety of media, and often took inspiration from her parents' art collection.
Descriptive Medium: 'Pencil, watercolour and bodycolour', 'pencil, watercolour, bodycolour'
Additional Makers: After Antoine Léon Morel-Fatio (1810-71) (artist)
From the Watercolour World