A collection of oddities and
oddments from the Victorian age.
Every year at Christmas, Queen Victoria
and Prince Albert gave each other nude drawings by William Mulready.
The Victorians were intensly nostalgic
about the era preceeding them: the Regency. Paintings of people in
Regency costume were very popular, as were the novels of such writers as
Jane Austen and the Brontes.
Most of Britain's art galleries and
museums were built during the 19th century. They were funded by great
industrialists, such as Henry Tate of the Tate and Lyle sugar refiners.
To the Victorians, art took the place
of radio, films and television. Paintings were discussed in such
popular publications as "Punch". Even the most average lower middle-class
family in their suburban villa were well-read and knowledgeable about art
The phrase, "a picture paints a thousand
words" could have been coined for the middle of the 19th century.
This was the time when large, anecdotal paintings were in vogue.
The pictures were based on popular novels, literature and traditional stories
and were eagerly snapped up by the newly-rich, newly-cultured middle classes.