Thursday, June 20, 2013

Gifts of Grandeur: A Souvenir of the Wedding of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, 1840

Pencil Case
The Victoria & Albert Museum
Made in England in 1840, this pencil case commemorates the marriage of Queen Victoria to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. The gold case for a propelling pencil is lined with a gilded copper alloy, and engine-turned, engraved and enameled on the exterior. It has been set with turquoise, and a lapis lazuli intaglio and medallion portraits of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Such pencil cases were crafted to be given as gifts to commemorate important days.

The marriage of Victoria to her first cousin, Albert (son of her mother’s brother, Ernest) was long-anticipated and long-rumored. In fact, the marriage had been in the works since the cousins were children. However, the Queen wasn’t too keen on the idea at first. When she first met her German cousin, he seemed disinterested in her and, frankly, she didn’t find him at all interesting either. Though he possessed a handsome face and figure, he was shy and somewhat dull. However, upon their second meeting, once Victoria was already Queen and she had her choice of many eligible bachelors, Albert had undergone years of study and intense grooming for the role of Prince Consort and Victoria declared him the most perfect man she’d ever seen.

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