Sit again and examine the myriad instruments owned by Queen Victoria and her partner Prince Albert
Queen Victoria’s musical devices
Buckingham Palace, London
It might have been described by none other than Proms director David Pickard as ‘an amazing piece of bling’ but Queen Victoria’s Erard piano has spent several yrs sitting down demurely in Buckingham Palace’s White Drawing Home. Lemon-tinted sofas are grouped in entrance of the fire, the piano to a person aspect. No flight of fancy to image Victoria, Albert and any musical visitors undertaking right after evening meal.
‘Victoria’s journal reveals that she played the piano pretty much every working day from her teens,’ claims Sally Goodsir, assistant curator of ornamental arts at the Royal Collection Rely on. ‘Her musical partnership with Albert was that of equals. He was an attained pianist and singer and encouraged Victoria to play, even though only for her individual pleasure, or for spouse and children and friends.’
The founded Erard piano maker numbered Liszt and Mendelssohn between its devotees. The delivery of Victoria’s 1856 decision was extensively claimed. The Morning Write-up pointed out the ‘delicately executed floral and arabesque surroundings’ enshrouding the symbols for tunes and dancing painted on ‘the groundwork of stable gold [sic], remarkably varnished and polished.’
This wasn’t Victoria’s to start with Erard, suggests Goodsir. ‘It was what you may call an up grade. The 1856 instrument has quite a tender tone, which could possibly have appealed to Albert’s temperament.’
Buckingham Palace, London
The route through the Palace requires you past the East Gallery’s array of priceless paintings to the plushly appointed Ballroom. The eye is caught by the gallery surmounted by the sizeable early 19th-century organ by Henry Cephas Lincoln. It’s still played at formal capabilities.
The organ begun daily life in Brighton’s Royal Pavilion. When Victoria and Albert resolved to lengthen Buckingham Palace for their at any time-increasing relatives, the govt agreed on affliction that the Pavilion was marketed. ‘Victoria and Albert understood the organ perfectly and kept hold of it just after the sale,’ Goodsir explains. ‘They were being equally organists – Victoria had an instrument in her personal rooms. She pumped the bellows when Albert performed.’
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Fronted by a ‘spacious orchestra’, the by-now-adapted organ graced the glittering State Live performance for the opening of the ‘Ball and Concert Room’ in July 1856. Disappointingly, says Goodsir, ‘we have no notion if the royal couple ever crept into the home to enjoy the organ privately!’
Basse de violon (unfamiliar maker)
Royal Selection Believe in
However not currently on screen, this musical treasure (a relative of the double bass) is as evocative as any in the Royal Assortment. Owned by the very first fantastic double bass virtuoso, Domenico Dragonetti, it was bequeathed at his dying in 1846 to Prince Albert, who listened to him perform it the preceding yr – one of quite a few periods the pair achieved.
The astounding Dragonetti initial manufactured waves in his native Venice, but by the mid-1790s had settled in London. He proved triumphantly that the double bass could be much additional than a workhorse. Ahead of him, the instrument appeared ‘to wage everlasting war with melody’, explained just one observer, but Dragonetti could convey ‘the charms of comfortable harmonious sounds’.
His compositions for the double bass have been recorded by Leon Bosch, who states ‘they show his procedure established extraordinary new standards. Functions like the well known Solo in E small, which he certainly performed for Albert, clearly show there was also an class to his enjoying.’
Alexandre et Fils harmonium
Osborne Dwelling, Isle of Wight
Choose the Lymington-Yarmouth ferry to West Wight and travel across charming countryside to Osborne Property in East Cowes – a favourite residence of Victoria and Albert. It consists of numerous of their instruments, such as this Paris-built harmonium in the Prince Consort’s Dressing/Composing Place, with its see down to the Solent. It can’t be 100 for every cent verified that this is the Prince Consort’s Osborne Household 1844 harmonium as outlined in Victoria’s journals, but it looks pretty possible.
This instrument, with its fetching rosewood circumstance, remembers the harmonium’s large 19th-century recognition, from a great number of much less expensive examples in chapels and church buildings to imposing concert corridor products. Significant-minded composers like Rossini and Berlioz wrote for the harmonium, relishing the orchestral variety of seems available in the grandest illustrations. Albert’s harmonium has extra modest abilities, but doubtless served its learn very well.
Principal impression: Queen Victoria viewing Prince Albert participating in the organ to Felix Mendelssohn. © Getty Visuals