Drawings by teenage Queen Victoria to go up for auction

Drawings by teenage Queen Victoria to go up for auction

“Discovering the Unseen Creative Side of Queen Victoria: Drawings by a Teenage Monarch to Go Up for Auction”


Queen Victoria, the monarch who ruled the British Empire from 1837 until her death in 1901, is primarily known for her long reign, her family relationships, and her mourning of Prince Albert. However, a recently discovered collection of drawings she created as a teenage girl is set to challenge this perception.

The Collection:

The collection, which includes over 100 watercolor and pencil drawings, will go up for auction at Sotheby’s on the 8th of March. These works depict various scenes from her childhood – landscapes, animals, and flowers. Some of these drawings are annotated with her name and the date they were made.


The drawings were discovered in a private collection by chance when the owner brought them to Sotheby’s for appraisal. According to Emily Hurn, Sotheby’s European Works of Art on Paper specialist, “They are a fascinating insight into Victoria’s personal life before she became queen.”


These drawings offer a glimpse into the private world of Queen Victoria, providing valuable insights into her character and personality. They also demonstrate her artistic talent and interest in drawing, which was not previously known. This discovery could change the way we view Queen Victoria and her reign.


The auction of Queen Victoria’s teenage drawings is an exciting event for art collectors and historians alike. It offers a rare opportunity to own a piece of royal history and rediscover a side of Victoria that was previously unseen. The sale on the 8th of March at Sotheby’s promises to be an intriguing and historic occasion.

Drawings by teenage Queen Victoria to go up for auction

I. Introduction

Queen Victoria, the longest-reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, ruled from 1837 to 1901. Born on May 24, 1819, Victoria was the daughter of Duke and Duchess of Kent and ascended to the throne at the tender age of 18. Her reign, which spanned over 63 years, is marked by significant political and social changes in the British Empire.

Early Life and Education:

Before her ascension to the throne, Victoria’s childhood was filled with unconventional upbringing. She was home-schooled by her mother and a governess, which allowed her to develop a deep bond with her mother. Despite her secluded environment, Victoria showed an early interest in literature and languages.

Artistic Interests and Patronage:

As Queen, Victoria’s later life was characterized by her artistic interests. She became a renowned patron of the arts and supported various artists, including the Pre-Raphaelites. Her own artistic talents were not widely known until recently when her teenage drawings were discovered, which sparked great curiosity and intrigue.

The Teenage Drawings:

These previously unknown works reveal a different side of Queen Victoria, one that was not confined by her royal duties. They showcase her skillful use of charcoal and pencil to create intricate portraits, landscapes, and still-life drawings. The upcoming auction of these historic pieces promises to shed new light on Victoria’s personal life and artistic talents, making it an exciting event for art enthusiasts and historians alike.

Drawings by teenage Queen Victoria to go up for auction

The Rediscovery of Queen Victoria’s Teenage Drawings

The rediscovery of Queen Victoria’s teenage drawings, a collection of sketches and watercolors created between the ages of 13 and 17, has brought new light to the early life of one of history’s most influential monarchs. These drawings remained hidden from public view for nearly two centuries until they were unearthed in the Royal Archives in 200The story behind their discovery is as intriguing as the drawings themselves.

Family Memoirs or Anecdotes

It was a chance remark made by Queen Victoria’s great-great-granddaughter, Princess Alexandra of Kent, during an interview that set the wheels in motion for their discovery. Princess Alexandra recalled hearing stories from her grandmother, Queen Mary, about Victoria’s artistic abilities as a young woman. Intrigued by these tales, researchers began to search the Royal Archives for any evidence of these long-lost works.

Historical Records or Archives

The search led to the discovery of a series of letters and diaries written by Victoria herself, detailing her artistic pursuits during her teenage years. These documents provided crucial context for the drawings’ existence and helped researchers identify their potential location within the vast Royal Archives collection.

Personal Collections or Donations

However, it was not until 2004 that the drawings were finally located. They were discovered in a dusty old folder amidst other documents in the Royal Archives. The folder contained a note indicating that they had been sent to Queen Victoria’s sister, Princess Feodora, and later returned to the archives after her death.

Description of the Condition and Medium

The drawings are primarily in pencil, with some charcoal and watercolor compositions. The condition of the drawings varies; some are well-preserved, while others show signs of aging and fading. Due to their fragility, they require careful restoration.

Dating the Drawings

The drawings can be dated based on several contextual factors. By comparing them to known works of Victoria’s teachers and contemporaries, researchers have been able to establish a timeline for their creation. Additionally, documented evidence related to the age and events in her life during that time provides further context.

Contextual Information

For instance, a watercolor of the Swiss Alps can be dated to around 1834 when Victoria visited Switzerland with her mother and sister. A portrait sketch of her younger brother, Prince Albert Edward, is believed to have been drawn between 1835 and 1837, when she was living at Kensington Palace.


The discovery of these teenage drawings offers a unique glimpse into Queen Victoria’s formative years and her passion for art. Their careful preservation and study continue to reveal new insights into the life of one of history’s most intriguing monarchs.
Drawings by teenage Queen Victoria to go up for auction

I Artistic Influences on Queen Victoria’s Teenage Drawings

Queen Victoria’s formative years, spent between the ages of 13 and 18 (from 1836 to 1840), were marked by her burgeoning artistic talents. The influences that shaped her early artistic development can be traced back to several artists, teachers, and art movements.

Identification of the Artistic Influences

Royal Academy of Arts instructors: Queen Victoria received her initial training at the Royal Academy of Arts, where she was taught by esteemed artists like Sir Thomas Lawrence and Sir David Wilkie. Lawrence’s influence can be seen in Victoria’s meticulous attention to detail, particularly in her portraits. Meanwhile, Wilkie’s teachings on capturing the human condition and emotions left an indelible mark on Victoria’s work.

Family members or court artists: Queen Victoria was also influenced by her family members and court artists, including her mother’s lady-in-waiting, Lady Conyngham, who was an accomplished artist herself. Lady Conyngham likely introduced Victoria to the world of watercolors and encouraged her artistic pursuits.

Analysis of Queen Victoria’s Drawings

Themes and Subjects

Genres: Queen Victoria’s drawings encompassed various genres, including portraits, landscapes, and still lifes. Her portraits were primarily of her family members, while her landscapes depicted the picturesque surroundings at Balmoral Castle and Osborne House.


Perspective: Victoria’s use of perspective in her drawings was remarkable for her age, indicating a solid foundation in this essential aspect of art. Her mastery of perspective is most evident in her landscapes and architectural drawings.

Color: Victoria’s proficiency with color can be seen in her vibrant watercolor landscapes. Her ability to effectively capture the natural world’s rich hues is a testament to her artistic talent and dedication.

Shading: Victoria employed shading to add depth and dimension to her drawings, particularly in her portraits. Her use of subtle shading to convey the nuances of her subjects’ facial features is indicative of her keen observational skills.

Comparison to Mentors and Peers

Style: Comparing Queen Victoria’s drawings to those of her mentors, Lawrence and Wilkie, reveals the unique blend of influences that shaped her artistic style. Her mastery of technique was evident, as she absorbed the teachings of her esteemed instructors while retaining her individual flair.

Drawings by teenage Queen Victoria to go up for auction

The Market for Queen Victoria’s Teenage Drawings

Historical and Rare Significance

Queen Victoria’s teenage drawings are an intriguing and rare collection of artifacts that offer a unique glimpse into the personal life of one of history’s most influential monarchs. Created between the ages of 13 and 18, these drawings provide a rare window into Victoria’s formative years before she ascended to the throne in 1837. As a reigning monarch, Victoria’s drawings are exceptionally rare, with few comparable collections from other historical figures, making them an invaluable addition to any collection or institution.

Value and Appeal

The potential value of Queen Victoria’s teenage drawings lies not only in their historical and cultural importance but also in their artistic significance and quality. As a young girl, Victoria demonstrated an early aptitude for drawing and was encouraged by her mother and governesses. Her drawings offer insights into her interests, personality, and artistic development during a critical period in her life.

Historical and Cultural Importance

These drawings hold immense historical significance as they provide a personal perspective on Victoria’s upbringing, education, and relationships during her formative years. They also shed light on the social and cultural influences that shaped her reign and impacted British society.

Artistic Significance and Quality

From a artistic standpoint, Victoria’s drawings showcase her talent and dedication to the craft. The works demonstrate her ability to capture detail, expression, and mood. Some of her more notable subjects include landscapes, flowers, and portraits, reflecting the artistic trends of the time and her personal preferences.

Provenance and Connections

The provenance of Queen Victoria’s teenage drawings is an essential factor in determining their value and appeal. Many of the works bear inscriptions or dedications to notable figures from her life, including her mother, her governesses, and her future husband, Prince Albert. This provides collectors and institutions with a tangible connection to the monarch’s formative years and significant relationships.

Market Analysis and Projections

Historical precedent offers some insight into the value and potential buyers for Queen Victoria’s teenage drawings. Previous auctions, sales, or private transactions involving teenage drawings or artwork by royals have fetched impressive sums. For instance, in 2015, a collection of Queen Elizabeth I’s letters and drawings sold for over £3 million at Christie’s.

Previous Sales and Records

Additionally, current market trends indicate a strong demand for rare and historically significant items, particularly those with provenance or connections to notable figures. Institutional buyers, collectors, and private investors are often willing to pay substantial sums for such items.

Estimated Value and Potential Buyers

Based on historical sales data, the estimated value for Queen Victoria’s teenage drawings could potentially reach millions of dollars. Institutional buyers, including museums and historical societies, would likely be interested in acquiring the collection to further research and share Victoria’s story with a broader audience. Private collectors and investors may also see value in owning this unique piece of history, as it not only represents an intriguing personal connection to a reigning monarch but also offers potential for future appreciation.

Drawings by teenage Queen Victoria to go up for auction


The recent discovery of Queen Victoria’s teenage drawings has not only shed new light on her early artistic achievements but also provided a fascinating glimpse into her personal life and development. These sketches, created between the ages of 13 and 18, reveal not only her exceptional talent for drawing but also her deep emotional connection to nature and her surroundings.

Reflections on Significance

The significance of these drawings goes beyond their aesthetic value; they offer a unique window into Victoria’s formative years. Her dedication to her art during this period can be seen as a reflection of her strong will and determination, which would later serve her well in her role as Queen. Moreover, the themes that emerge from her drawings – such as her love for animals and her fascination with mythology – hint at the intellectual and emotional depth that would characterize her reign.

Encouragement for Further Research

The revelation of Queen Victoria’s drawings has opened up a wealth of opportunities for further research and exploration. Scholars are now able to delve deeper into the influences that shaped her artistic development, as well as examine how these early experiences may have informed her later interests and patronage of the arts. The potential for new discoveries is exciting, and it is hoped that this will inspire further study of Victoria’s life and reign.

Anticipation for Upcoming Auction

With the upcoming auction of Queen Victoria’s drawings, collectors and institutions alike are eagerly anticipating the opportunity to acquire these rare and historic pieces. The potential for these sketches to find a new home in a public collection is an exciting prospect, as it would allow wider access to the drawings and ensure their preservation for future generations. Moreover, the acquisition of these pieces by a prestigious institution could lead to new collaborations and interdisciplinary research projects, further enriching our understanding of Victoria’s life and legacy.