Queen Victoria’s Private Garden Terrace Revealed

A garden terrace where Queen Victoria sat and painted watercolours at Osborne, her Isle of Wight home, will open to the public for the very first time after a major conservation project, English Heritage announced today (Tuesday 27 June).

The terrace’s panoramic views across the Solent – compared by Prince Albert to the Bay of Naples – can now be enjoyed by the public for the first time as they would have been by the royal couple over 150 years ago. In a project worth over £600,000, the terrace’s centrepiece Andromeda fountain, bought by Queen Victoria during the Great Exhibition in 1851, has been returned to working order and the elaborate Shell Alcove, decorated with thousands of seashells from the beach below, has been painstakingly restored to its former aqua blue and vivid red glory. The public will also be able to experience the terrace’s Victorian planting scheme and the famous royal myrtle plant, given to Victoria by Prince Albert’s grandmother, up-close. The myrtle, traditionally included in royal wedding bouquets since the marriage of Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter, has been used by HRH Queen Elizabeth II and more recently by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

English Heritage has also reinstated the classic ‘Osborne yellow’, inspired by the warm Italian sun, to the terrace walls which once again match the golden hue of the rest of the house and restore Victoria and Albert’s original vision.

Samantha Stones, English Heritage’s Properties Curator at Osborne, 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.”

The Lower Terrace was designed by Prince Albert as a key part of his overall vision for the royal couple’s family home away from the hustle and bustle of court life. Dubbed ‘Albert the Creator’ by Victoria, her husband was very much at the forefront of creating their new residence, enlisting the help of his ‘Adviser in Art’ Ludwig Gruner to create the magnificent Italianate terracing as the crowning glory of their new house.

The Garden Terrace at Osborne will open to the public on Wednesday 28 Jun 

With thanks to the Friends of Osborne and an individual donor for their most generous support of this conservation project.

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For further information or images please contact:

Emma Gough, National PR Assistant at emma.gough@english-heritage.org.uk or call 020 7973 3390

Notes to editors:

Queen Victoria’s Journals

Queen Victoria often wrote about the terrace in her journals:

  • (Of the Shell Alcove) – Tuesday 3rd August 1852: There is a most charming tame magpie at Barton, which is most amusing, & has been here the last few mornings, pecking at our shoes & boots, running after us, & taking away all the shells from the workmen, who are ornamenting the Alcove below. It is most mischievous having gone into several people’s rooms & carried things away, proving itself quite a “Gazza Ladra”.

RA VIC/MAIN/QVJ (W) 3 August 1852 (Princess Beatrice’s copies)

  • Wednesday 5th December 1849: It cleared sufficiently in the afternoon, for us to take a walk, & watch the proceedings on the lower terrace, which is what is truly called “a great job”

RA VIC/MAIN/QVJ (W) 5 December 1849 (Princess Beatrice’s copies)

  • Sunday 2nd 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, & what we had laid out upon it, for it certainly is quite perfection for us & our Children & we enjoy it more & more. This evening, after our little “tête à tête” dinner, we went out for a little on the Terrace, & nothing could have been more enchanting. — the calm sea stretched out before us, & innumerable birds singing, the only sounds to interrupt the quiet of the place.

RA VIC/MAIN/QVJ (W) 2 June 1850 (Princess Beatrice’s copies)

 Wednesday 30th July 1851: The outer wall of the terrace round the foundations of which ruins a walk, is surrounded by a bed of flowers, the greater part of which are trained up the wall & I cannot describe the brilliancy of the effect.

RA VIC/MAIN/QVJ (W) 30 July 1851 (Princess Beatrice’s copies) 

  • Sunday 17th July 1853: Everything in great beauty. The roses out in profusion on the lower Terraces. The new fountain there is beautiful. —

RA VIC/MAIN/QVJ (W) 17 July 1853 (Princess Beatrice’s copies)

  • Sunday 23rd July 1854: We afterwards spent the evening on the Lower Terrace, walking & sitting in the Alcove, the air perfumed with the smell of honey suckle, jasmin, roses, magnolias, &c. —

RA VIC/MAIN/QVJ (W) 23 July 1854 (Princess Beatrice’s copies)

  • Sunday 2nd 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.

RA VIC/MAIN/QVJ (W) 2 August 1857 (Princess Beatrice’s copies)

Osborne is the royal family home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert on the Isle of Wight. Designed by Prince Albert, it reflects the couple’s passions, tastes and style. Ornate furnishings and artefacts from The Royal Collection fill rooms and corridors where Victoria entertained heads of state, inventors, princess and princesses and ruled the vast British Empire.  “It is impossible to imagine a prettier spot” said Queen Victoria of Osborne and the stunning views across the Solent reminded Prince Albert of the Bay of Naples. http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/osborne/

English Heritage cares for over 400 historic monuments, buildings and sites – from world famous prehistoric sites to grand medieval castles, from Roman forts on the edges of empire to Cold War bunkers. Through these, we bring the story of England to life for over 10 million visitors each year.

www.english-heritage.org.uk

Registered charity no. 1140351

 

The Isle of Wight is dancing to a different beat this summer

The Isle of Wight Festival takes place from June 8 to 11 this year at Seaclose Park, Newport, on the Isle of Wight.  And, due to popular demand, 2017 sees the return of Day Tickets in addition to Weekend Tickets.

2017 will be the 16th Isle of Wight Festival since it was successfully re-launched in 2002 to become one of the most popular weekends of the summer, with a proud heritage of show-stopping headliners such as Foo Fighters, The Rolling Stones, The Killers, Paul McCartney, Coldplay, Blur and Fleetwood Mac.

A full range of ticket, travel and camping/accommodation options are available for The Isle of Wight Festival from www.isleofwightfestival.com.  Pricing options include: Weekend with / without Camping – £195; Day Ticket: Friday – £60 / Saturday and Sunday – £80; Student – £175; Teen – £145; Children Under 12: Free; Disabled Access – must be purchased via the Ticketmaster Special Access Number 0800 998 440.

A variety of travel options including ferry, speed boats, river crossing, Big Green Coach Company and National Rail, and details can be found here:  https://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/whats-on/isle-of-wight-festival-2017-p904681

The Isle of Wight quite rightly has a reputation for being “Music Isle”.  Other upcoming events in 2017 include:

Classic Isle, July 8/9

Classic Isle is back in 2017 with a new venue, a new format and renewed vigour for what promises to be a festival to remember.  Operating from Barton Manor in Whippingham the venue offers a new and intimate setting in the expansive grounds, with a secluded lake as a centerpiece, and one of England’s finest Jacobean Mansions as the backdrop to a Classical Music Festival which prides itself on providing World Class Musicians and local talented prodigies performing on a single stage.  Lawn tickets have remained at a £35 a head for this year which allows guests to bring a hamper and rug or chair and sit on the lawn nestled directly in front of the stage.  VIP tickets are also available.

https://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/whats-on/classic-isle-p1388911

Rhythmtree Festival, July 14 to 16

Rhythmtree Festival will be returning to Three Gates Farm from July 14 to 16.  The Isle of Wight’s most original, fun-filled, family friendly festival returns to Calbourne for its 8th consecutive year. With a reputation for bringing together a diverse mix of high quality music and family entertainment, Rhythmtree Festival 2017 will showcase a range of music by musicians from the Island, UK and beyond.  This safe, friendly, family oriented festival is held in beautiful, tree surrounded farmland, close to the West Wight Heritage Coast and free camping and parking are included in the weekend ticket price.  Adult day ticket costs from £27.50, adult weekend tickets cost £80.

https://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/whats-on/rhythmtree-festival-2017-p1426111

V-Dub Island, August 11 to 13

A family-friendly camping event, the annual V-Dub Island festival is part music and part meeting place for VW enthusiasts.   There are three stages and over 80 bands and DJs – and the chance to take part in a range of activities, including a Drive-Out on Saturday where festival-goers will be guided through the heart of the beautiful ‘Back of the Wight’ and have the opportunity to take part in the popular ‘Run to the Surf’ competition at Compton Bay, one of the Island’s award-winning beaches.    And there’s plenty to do for the kids too with Little Dubbers at V-Dub 2017.  A main stage will showcase acts and entertainment, games, competitions, interactive classes, performances and even an opportunity for them to take to the stage as part of a mini open mic session.  A Family Weekend ticket for 2 adults and 2 children costs £80 and includes camping on site at South Fairlee Farm, Newport.

https://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/whats-on/vdub-island-2017-p1371361

 Jack up the 80s, August 12/13

International-selling pop group S Club have been announced as the latest act to join the Jack Up The 80s party, taking place on August 12 and 13.  Everyone knows “there ain’t no party like an S Club party”, so who better to capture the party spirit of the 80s than one of the UK’s best-loved pop acts?  Original members Jo, Bradley and Tina will be performing all their hits, including the Number 1’s Bring It All Back, Never Had A Dream Come True, Don’t Stop Movin’ and Have You Ever, as well as Reach and S Club Party on Sunday August 13.  Known worldwide for their feel-good music and party vibes, S Club have recorded over 10 million album sales and won 2 BRIT Awards and will now take to the stage at Smallbrook Stadium, treating Jack Up The 80s fans to what is expected to be just one of the many highlight performances of the weekend.  Day tickets will cost £38, weekend tickets £50.

https://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/whats-on/jack-up-the-80s-p988491

Eklectica @ Robin Hill, September 9/10

Robin Hill Country Park will host a new, boutique music festival – Eklectica – on September 9 and 10 this year.  Described as a festival with a twist, Eklectica is a combination of acts that promise to be diverse, quirky and creative – headlined by internationally renowned, show stopping tribute bands – all set within the woodland setting of Robin Hill.  The Amphitheatre boasts the idea of turning quirky into an art form by showcasing all kinds of entertainment.  From circus to poetry, comedy to fine art, theatre to burlesque, it includes a line-up including The Victorian Circus Duo, Professor Elemental, The Mime Guys, Vintage Comedy Duo, The FB Pocket Orchestra, Dave Sharp’s Speed Painting and The Ventnor Darlings.  Adult day tickets costs £35, or £30 for those aged 10 to 17, £20 for children (5-9), infants (4 and under) are free.

https://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/whats-on/eklectica-robin-hill-p1409381

For further tourist information, and accommodation details, visit https://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk.

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For further information about The Isle of Wight, please contact:

Sue Emmerson,  Tel: 07766 705672, Email: sue@visitwight.org

Notes to Editors

Working in partnership with Visit England, Visit Isle of Wight Ltd (VIOW) is responsible for developing tourism and attracting more visitors to the Isle of Wight.   As well as the consumer website www.visitisleofwight.co.uk the DMO also operates a small industry website containing recent research and tourism news along with links to Visit England reports and opportunities www.visitwight.org

Get social media updates from Visit Isle of Wight.   Go to https://www.facebook.com/VisitIOW, https://twitter.com/VisitIOW, https://instagram.com/visitisleofwight/, https://www.youtube.com/user/VisitIsleofWight, https://plus.google.com/114584030216192729120/posts