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Victoria & Albert at Osborne

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Join English Heritage for a three day international conference to mark the bicentenary of the births of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Bringing together academics, authors and heritage professionals, this conference offers a unique opportunity to examine the political, cultural, and social significance of Victoria and Albert’s activities at Osborne.

The royal residence of Osborne House has traditionally been presented as a seaside retreat for Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their family, removed from the political, cultural and social developments of nineteenth century Britain. This conference seeks to reassess the significance of Osborne through exploring how the residence was created, used, presented and represented, and the influence that it had on the way monarchy was enacted on a national and international stage during Queen Victoria's long reign.

This landmark event will include exclusive tours of the house and grounds by English Heritage experts, and a gala dinner in the Indian-themed Durbar Room with a menu inspired by Queen Victoria's own banquets. Lunches and refreshments will be provided.

Day 1

11:30-12:00 Registration

12:00 – 12:10 Welcome (Anna Eavis, Curatorial Director, English Heritage)

12:10 – 13:00 Keynote:

  • What we owe the Prince Consort (A.N. Wilson)

13:00 – 14:15 Lunch

14:15 – 15:45 Session 1: Building Osborne

Chair (tbc)

  • From Schloss Rosenau to Osborne: the inspiration and influence of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (John R Davis, HRP)
  • Prince Albert and Osborne, ‘so completely my beloved one’s creation’ (Michael Turner, formerly Historic England)
  • Restoration work at Osborne (Sam Stones, English Heritage)

15:45 – 16:00 Break

16:00 – 17:30 Session 2: Collections and interiors

Chair (tbc)

  • A Private Passion: Victoria and Albert’s collection at Osborne. (Michael Hunter, English Heritage)
  • Victorian Salon Painting (Desmond Shawe-Taylor, Surveyor of The Queen’s Pictures, Royal Collection)
  • Sculpture at Osborne (Michael Hatt, University of Warwick)

20:00 Dinner

Day 2

09:30 – 10:30 Session 3: Gardens and grounds:

Chair (John Watkins, Head of Gardens and Landscapes, English Heritage)

  • Osborne’s gardens, Prince Albert’s pastime (Toby Beasley, English Heritage)
  • Osborne from a gardening perspective (Brent Elliot)

10:30 – 11:00 Break

11:00 – 13:00 Tours of the house and gardens (Michael Hunter and Toby Beasley)

13:00 – 14:15 Lunch

14:15 – 15:15 Session 4: Technology

Chair (tbc)

  • Comfort and convenience in a royal retreat (Ian West and Marilyn Palmer)
  • Prince Albert’s farms at Coburg and Osborne (Michael Eckstein)
  • [In/] tanglible traces: Osborne and the Great Exhibition (Andrew Cusworth, Bodleian Library/Royal Collection)

15:15 – 15:30 Break

15:30 – 17:00 Session 5: Living at Osborne

Chair (tbc)

  • Family life at Osborne (Helen Rappaport)
  • A seaside retreat? Osborne, domesticity and a global monarchy (Oliver Walton, Royal Collection)
  • ‘Extemporised measures’: cooking and eating at Osborne (Annie Gray)

19:30 – 20:00 Drinks reception

20:00 Gala dinner

Day 3

09:30 – 11:00 Session 6: Presenting and representing Osborne

Chair (tbc)

  • A ‘point d’attraction’: Queen Victoria’s Animals at Osborne House (Sally Goodsir, Royal Collection)
  • Caldesi to Cameron: Placing Osborne in the history of Early Photography (Helen Trompeteler, Royal Collection)
  • Royal homes and dynastic memorialisation (Joanna Marschner, HRP)

11:00 – 11:30 Break

11:30 – 13:00 Session 7: Politics and Empire

Chair (tbc)

  • The royal department of state: Queen Victoria and national government at Osborne (Lee Butcher, Kings College, London)
  • At home with the Indian empire: the Queen-Empress and the political uses of Osborne House (Miles Taylor, University of York)
  • Osborne and Empire (Rowena Willard-Wright, National Trust)

13:00 – 14:30 Lunch

14:30 – 16:00 Session 8: Maritime Osborne

Chair (tbc)

  • Osborne and the Great Naval Game (Jan Rueger, Birkbeck College, University of London)
  • A Palace on the Ocean: Osborne, the Victorian Monarchy and the seapower state (Andrew Lambert, King’s College, London)

16:00 – 16:30 Closing remarks

Date Adult Child
6th - 8th November  From £255 N/A

Getting Here

Winchester Cathedral
Inner Close
SO23 9LS

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Take the Hovercraft from Ryde to Southsea, HoverBus to Portsmouth The Hard Interchange and a South Western Railway service to Winchester.