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 and culture.

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.