Friday, May 25, 2012

Journal and sketchbook Illustrations by Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria's Journals have been published online as part of the celebrations of the Diamond Jubilee.  This is the latest project of a grand scheme to digitise the royal household and its collections and archives.

Queen Victoria was, of course, the only other monarch to date to have achieved a Diamond Jubilee.
Queen Victoria was the longest serving British monarch, reigning as Queen from 1837 to 1901 and as Empress of India from 1877. In total 141 volumes of her journal survive, numbering 43,765 pages.
The illustrations are split between:
An example of her landscapes can be seen below.  However it's obvious from her journals and sketchbooks that what she most enjoyed doing was sketching people.

Scottish Landscape Studies.  Page of watercolours by Queen Victoria
© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2012 © Bodleian Libraries © ProQuest
You can read an essay on Queen Victoria's sketchbook - which I personally found very interesting as an account not only of how young ladies were taught to paint but also in terms of the way her habits indicate the nature of her character.

The website is very well atttuned to accessibility issues and has tried very hard to make both navigation and viewing of the Journals and illustrations as easy as possible.

The project is a partnership between the Royal Archives, Bodleian Libraries at Oxford University and the online publisher, ProQuest who should be commended for their efforts in bringing these illustrations into public view.

Other Jubilee activities
In addition to the digitisation of Queen Victoria’s Journals, the Royal Archives has undertaken the following projects in Diamond Jubilee year:
  • An online partnership project has been undertaken so that the public may trace their ancestors who have worked for the Royal Household. Free access to the records, which range from the seventeenth century to 1920, will also be available in the National Archives’ Reading Rooms in Kew.
  • A selection of Queen Victoria’s school copy books will be available for viewing at the National Archives at Kew for the first time.
  • “Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Scrapbook”, a website focused on Queen Victoria’s life and reign, including her Diamond Jubilee in 1897, was launched by Buckingham Palace in April 2012. It contains documents from the Royal Archives, paintings and photographs from the Royal Collection, as well as audio and film clips. See
  • Over the Diamond Jubilee period, the Twitter account @QueenVictoriaRI will tweet selected excerpts from Queen Victoria’s Journals, illustrated by links to photographs, paintings and original documents. This account will run from 24th May until 7th June.

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