Con­tro­ver­sial royal etch­ings on dis­play

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

ABOOK of etch­ings by Queen Vic­to­ria and Prince Al­bert, which was at the cen­tre of a sem­i­nal court case, has gone on dis­play at Hare­wood House, West York­shire, for the first time. Soon af­ter their mar­riage in 1840, the royal cou­ple took up etch­ing and were schooled by Sir Ge­orge Hayter and Sir Ed­win Land­seer. Their sub­jects ranged from copies of Re­nais­sance art to por­traits of their chil­dren, them­selves and their pets (above). The Queen used to give these prints to friends and fam­ily as gifts. In 1848, a num­ber of prints were leaked to a jour­nal­ist, who made moves both to ex­hibit them and print them in a cat­a­logue. Prince Al­bert sought an in­junc­tion to pre­vent their dis­play; he suc­ceeded and the case re­mains a defin­ing mo­ment in the de­vel­op­ment of copy­right law. Al­though in­com­plete—there are only two known com­plete sets of the cou­ple’s etch­ings, in the Royal Col­lec­tion and at the Bri­tish Mu­seum—the book is thought to have been given to Princess Mary on her wed­ding day. The ex­hi­bi­tion ‘Vic­to­rian Hare­wood’ runs un­til Oc­to­ber 29 (0113–218 1010; www.hare­wood.org).

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