Archive for the Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha Category

Birthday Wishes to the Queen

Posted in 19th Century, Prince Albert, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha, Queen Victoria on May 23, 2011 by babylonbaroque

As tomorrow will be the 192nd anniversary of Queen Alexandrina Victoria’s birth, I wanted to compile a little album devoted to her image.

As I never grow weary of  looking at images of the  great lady,  discussing her reign, and examining the culture that flourished under her watch, putting  this post  together was quite a  treat. Most of the images were pulled from  the National Portrait Gallery and the V&A.

Queen Victoria

(Golden Jubilee, 1887)

b. 24th May 1819

d. 22nd January 1901

gorgeous coloring

Her Majesty’s Gracious Smile

by Charles Knight, 1887


For a queen so often  remembered as a symbol of repressive colonialism, rigid class boundaries, and overstuffed parlors chock-a-block with bric-a-brac and dusty aspidistra; I wanted to cobble together a more intimate, approachable collection. It is after all her birthday, would be bad manners to dwell upon unfortunate events.

Victoria as a child.

Hand-colored engraving, 1825-30


Charles Robert Leslie

Queen Victoria in Her Coronation Robes


oil on canvas


Queen Victoria

published 1st May 1838


circa 1837-50

Her Majesty Queen Victoria opening her first Parliament

late 1830’s


unknown artist


It isn’t possible to discuss the Queen without  Prince Albert of Saxe-Colburg-Gotha, her dashing husband; her passion for him was quite intense, “bliss beyond belief”. They married 10th February 1840.

The public understandably could not  get enough of the happy couple; the engravers satisfied their desire with an enormous amount of ephemera.

The Queen and Prince Albert’s Polka

printed 1840


Such passion inevitably brings forth royal issue, the first being Victoria, Empress of Germany and Queen of Prussia.

Windsor Castle



More after that, ultimately eight children, she was not only the Queen, she was a mother.

A very marketable commodity.

The Royal Mother

1844 or after

“At Home” images became increasingly popular, they hold my interest well past the fact.

The Queen and Prince Albert at Home



Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and family



The Queen never seemed to lose her dignity,possessing that well known (often caricatured) aloof air; yet from the sheer volume  of material culture bearing her likeness it is quite apparent how fondly she was regarded.

Charles Clifford

Queen Victoria

14th November 1861

albumen carte-de-visite


From costly wall coverings,

Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee


F.Scott and Son


to “street-art” stencils,



the Queen’s image seems to have been everywhere. This quitepeculiar pipe bowl of 1887 , maker unknown, really captures the Queen’s likeness;although stuffing tobacco in your monarch’s cranium seems a bit irreverent.


by Alexander Bassano


National Portrait Gallery

Although her reign was of incredible length, 63 years and 216 days ( but who’s counting?), the inevitable happens, January 22nd 1901 Her Majesty passed.This image is particularly touching with her  beloved Albert ever present.

unknown photographer, 1901


I will close with a happier image.

by Sir George Hayter


National Portrait Gallery

If you are as much a monarchy looney as I am, perhaps consider joining The British Monarchy Facebook page.

Until next time,

Babylon Baroque

False Principles of Design, a reaction to the Great Exhibition

Posted in 1851 Great Exhibition, False Principles of Design/1853, Henry Cole, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha, wallpaper on June 30, 2010 by babylonbaroque

As well intentioned as the Great Exhibition of 1851 may have been, vulgarity always reins supreme.

I happen to love vulgarity, particularly if it has gathered dust and crackled varnish over the last 160 years.

Poor Mr. Cole was having a fit at the “False Principles” being peddled as “Design” at his wonderful showcase, the Great Exhibition. He was so peeved that he organized another exhibition in 1853 , the “False Principles of Design”, held at the Museum of Ornamental Art.

The following must have been particularly galling to Mr. Cole.

False Principle #28

Perspective Representation of the Crystal Palace

Heywood, Higginbottom & Smith



I imagine seeing his beloved Crystal Palace, exploited in such a shameless fashion was a great irritant; that it went against his Reform principles, just added insult. How marvelous that he was able to stage an exhibit to showcase his indignation. How often I have wished for such an opportunity.

False Principle #28 follows, I love  how scientific that sounds, we’re talking about wallpaper, not an airborne disease!

False Principle # 27

Potters of Darwen



Apparently what really rubbed Mr. Cole the wrong way was the illusion of three dimensions. Eastlake, Morris, Dresser, all felt the same. I believe it is a “false principle” simply because it is so ugly. I have difficulty understanding railroad stations as an ornamental motif. To toss aside realistic representation in the ornamental arts seems unrealistic, narrow minded, and ignorant of design history. The 18th century is rich in fully rendered ornament, carpets, wall panels, and porcelain, just a small example.I understand the Reformers rejected much of 18th century art and design, I just don’t understand why, had the beauty not been apparent?


David Walker, manufacturer


Although not an example of a False Principle as the late date will show, but clearly the false principles flourished. The dimensional allusion is apparent, I imagine it was a popular paper, it is pretty in it’s fussy dark way.

wallpaper commemorating Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee

F. Scott & Son



I feel strongly that this would have been deemed a False Principle, patriotism and love of your Queen aside.

I love it, can’t imagine the repeat,but I love it.

I’m always a sucker for allegory, in this instance allegories of Australia, India, Canada, and the Cape Colonies.


Heywood, Higginbottom & Smith



Again, not part of the exhibit, but the same manufacturer of False Principle # 28, was up to the same illusionary tricks.

Now, this is just ugly.

I’m with Messrs Cole, Morris, Dresser, Eastlake, et al. Ugly , butch crap.

The following isn’t ugly, it’s also a bit effete.

Wallpaper frieze

Color chiaroscuro print from wood blocks with machine printed background.

Jeffrey & Company


This was NOT in the False Principals exhibit. It IS equestrian,, and it is beautiful. It is also ‘trompe l’oeil’, and it appears that it was shown at the Great Exhibition , with no evident criticism from Cole . I guess because it is attempting to capture the grandeur of the Elgin Marbles , Mr. Cole felt it passed muster.

Love the yellow.

Back to ugly:


late 19th century


machine printed on laminated paper

I think it is safe to say that Mr. Cole would not approve.

I don’t approve, particularly given the fact that “nudie-girl’ paper needs to be on washable laminated paper. The insinution so apparent, so awful, so unsanitary.

Must confess to lusting after a similar reproduction paper in the 70’s of my youth, Mother said no.

All in all we owe a note of thanks to both Henry Cole and the Prince.

Thank you boys.

BTW, we also owe Mr. Cole a thanks for the first adhesive postage stamp, the Penny Black, 1840,

and the first Christmas card, 1843

You just have to love the fellow.

So worried about our aesthetic welfare.

Good night.

Teutonic Splendor, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha, and the Great Exhibition of 1851

Posted in 1851 Great Exhibition, 19th cent., chair, George Greig, Gothic Revival, Memento Mori, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha, sideboards on June 18, 2010 by babylonbaroque

In continuing my mania for all things Teutonic, prompted by my Ring experience, I present this architectural wonder.

Last week I showcased a Gothic Revival chair, part of a set shown at the Great Exhibition of ’51. the set included a sideboard, the sideboard follows.Sideboard or buffet

ca. 1851

designer, Ferdinand Rothbart

makers, Thomas Hoffmeister and Thomas Behrens

carved oak and brown plush

place of origin, Coburg

acquired by the V&A in 1967

In addition to last weeks chair,shown below, and in last weeks post,

the sideboard was commissioned by the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg, Albert’s neck of the woods. As I mentioned last week the chairs and this splendid sideboard,  described as “in the German-Gothic style of the middle ages”, were shown at the Great Exhibition of 1851.

by G. Baxter

from Lane’s telescopic view of the ceremony of Her majesty opening the Great Exhibition of All Nations,

designed by Rawlins, London, August 15th 1851

It would have been difficult for the dashing and reform minded prince to resist the pieces. Aside from their great beauty and craftsmanship, his ties as a member of the house of Saxe-Coburg, and a childhood raised in Coburg , would have made the set irresistible. Typical of so much that I love about these ponderous 19th century sideboards, more like an entire Gothic city block, is that they are overwrought with a particular theme. In this case Germanic “Gothick”, and the ever present love the Germans have for the forest. Forest dwellers such as deer, boars, and a bear frolic about, unaware of the huntsmen with bugle and spears in hand. I’ve mentioned before my love of hunt themed sideboards, this one combined with a motif of rose windows, gothic arcades, a central shield and accented in brown plush, is just too wonderful to resist.

Good purchase your Majesty.

Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha

ca. 1842

b. 26th August 1819

d. 14th December 1861

by Franz Xavier Winterhalter

(He was a handsome devil.)

Initially intended for Balmoral, it and the chairs ended up as I mentioned last week in the Evening Drawing Room of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh.

The sideboard and chairs, two of which are shown, are illustrated in a watercolor by George Greig  ca. 1863.

George Miller Grieg

artist to the Queen

The image is especially poignant as it is most likely a memento of the Queen’s loss. The Prince had just died and the two female figures are in deep mourning dresses.

The image is small but the sideboard and chairs are visible if you look closely.

On that happy note, Happy Father’s Day dear Prince.

Have a great weekend.

BTW, the watercolor, ” Palace of Holyroodhouse: the presence Chamber or Evening Drawing Room”, by George Greig, 1863, is part of the Royal Collection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Wouldn’t want to offend the Queen.