27 June 2017

Queen Victoria's terrace opens for the first time

Victoria would read, write and paint on this terrace - and wrote about it regularly in her 19th century diary
A reenactor dressed as Queen Victoria sits in the restored shell alcove

Queen Victoria reenactor sitting in the restored shell alcove

Queen Victoria's garden terrace within her holiday home at Osborne will open to the public for the first time from tomorrow.

Visitors can now enjoy the Lower Terrace like the royals did more than 150 years ago. Prince Albert himself compared the view across the Solent to the Bay of Naples.

The £600,000 conservation project includes restoration to the terrace's centrepiece Andromeda fountain and the elaborate shell alcove which is decorated with seashells from Victoria's beach.

Other upgrades include the reinstatement of the classic 'Osborne yellow' hue, which was originally inspired by the warm Italian sun.

Visitors can also admire Osborne's famous myrtle, which has been used in royal wedding bouquets since the marriage of Victoria's eldest daughter.

The restored Lower Terrace

The restored Lower Terrace

Restoring Albert’s vision

Prince Albert, or 'Albert the Creator' as Victoria called him, designed the Lower Terrace as part of his overall vision for the royal couple's family home in the 1840s.

He worked with his 'Adviser in Art' Ludwig Gruner to create the Italianate terracing, which became a much-loved area of the family home.

English Heritage's Properties Curator at Osborne, Samantha Stones, said:

'Queen Victoria loved to be outside in the fresh sea air and the terrace was a place of peace. Opening up this previously closed space to visitors gives them another glimpse into the private lives of the royal couple. Our conservation project now reinstates Albert's original vision of Osborne.

'Matching the yellow of the walls, restoring the beautifully decorated shell alcove with its aqua blue canopy, and seeing the Andromeda fountain with her surrounding sea monsters in working order has truly brought the terrace back to life.'

Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Group, including some of Victoria's children, in the shell alcove on the Lower Terrace. Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017 - www.royalcollection.org.uk

Victoria: nothing could have been more enchanting

During her reign, Victoria would visit Osborne several times throughout the year and she would use the Lower Terrace to read, write and paint watercolours of her coastal landscape.

She kept a regular diary and frequently referenced Osborne and her time spent on this terrace.

2 June 1850:'We walked about on our 2 Terraces, & sat in the alcove, beyond the clock tower. We both said how we daily rejoiced in the purchase of this dear place… this evening, after our little tête à tête' dinner, we went out for a little on the Terrace, & nothing could have been more enchanting.'

2 August 1857:'Sitting in the lower Alcove from 5 to 7, reading & writing. Such a glorious day & evening: the deepest blue sky & sea, the Terrace brilliant with every colour of flower, the air quite perfumed - so enjoyable.'

Victoria continued to visit the property until her death, at Osborne, in 1901.

Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017 - www.royalcollection.org.uk

Art of the Lower Terrace by Queen Victoria in 1851. Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017 - www.royalcollection.org.uk

Discover more about the history of Osborne.

Read our Spotlight on Osborne to discover visitor highlights.

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