A Cache of Drawings by a 14-Year-Old Queen Victoria Heads to Auction

The Queen was instructed by some of the foremost painters of her day.

A seated woman with a crown and sash, inscribed "by Her Majesty 1838." Courtesy of Roseberys Auctions.

Four drawings from Queen Victoria’s teenage years will go up for auction next week at Roseberys, London. 

Victoria began her reign in 1837, at the age of 18, and ruled until her death in 1901. Her time as monarch was marked as Britain’s great age of industrialization, economic development, and imperial  expansion. By the end of her rule, it could truly be said that the sun never set on the British Empire.

Three of the four drawings, made while she was still a 14-year-old princess, depict figures on horseback. The first is an ink sketch of a knight, inscribed “original sketch by the Royal Highness The Princess Victoria.”

In the second, a delicate, pencil-drawn image of a veiled woman rides a horse with its knee in the air, reminiscent of equestrian dressage postures. The drawing is inscribed “part of a sketch by HRH The Princess Victoria.” The third work is another pencil drawing of a woman astride a horse inscribed with “sketch by HRH Princess Victoria.”

The final example, made in Victoria’s first year as Queen, depicts a seated woman with a crown and sash, inscribed “by Her Majesty.”

A sketch of a knight on horseback by Queen Victoria, dated 1833. Courtesy of Rosebery's Auctions.

A sketch of a knight on horseback by Queen Victoria, dated 1833. Courtesy of Roseberys Auctions.

The collection is thought to have been assembled by Augusta Hayter. Her father-in-law, George Hayter, was Queen Victoria’s court painter, who painted the monarch’s coronation portrait. He was also the Queen’s drawing instructor.

a painting of a white woman dressed in red and gold robes sits on a throne as she is crowned queen

Queen Victoria of Great Britain pictured in her cornoation robes by artist Sir George Hayter (1837). Photo: Photo 12/Universal Images Group via Getty Images.

The estimated sale price for the album of the four Victorian sketches is £1,500 to £2,500 ($1,900 to $3,170). This album also includes artworks by other artists and items of royal ephemera such as an invitation to King George IV’s coronation at Westminster Abbey in 1821.

Two sketches by Queen Victoria, one of a young woman and one of a woman riding a horse. Courtesy of Rosebery's Auctions.

Two sketches by Queen Victoria, one of a young woman and one of a woman riding a horse. Courtesy of Roseberys Auctions.

In the past, Rosebery’s has sold other royal artworks, including a painting by Princess Victoria, Queen Victoria’s daughter, which fetched £4,198 (around $5,320) last year.

Victoria shared her passion for art with her husband, Prince Albert. In the early days of their marriage, the newlyweds were known to make sketches of each other and sometimes gift their drawings to relatives and loved ones. Over 4,000 of Queen Victoria’s artworks, including drawings, watercolors, and lithographs, made over her 60-year-long reign, are held by the Royal Collection Trust, a charity that preserves the royal art collection.

The trust describes her as “prolific” and a “keen amateur artist” who began instruction in drawing at the age of eight years old, tutored by some of 19th-century Britain’s foremost painters, including Edwin Landseer and William Leighton Leitch. Her work often depicted her home and domestic life.

In January of 2023, two floral oil paintings by Queen Victoria respectively fetched £9,500 ($12,175) and £10,000 ($12,816) at Hanson’s Auctioneer’s London showroom.


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