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How Queen Victoria and Prince Albert expressed their love through flowers is explored in a new exhibition

Release date: Friday, 15 July 2016

How Queen Victoria and Prince Albert used the symbolism of flowers to express their love for each other and their family is among many themes explored in the exhibition Painting Paradise: The Art of the Garden, opening at The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, opening on 5 August. Many of the items in the exhibition will be seen in Scotland for the first time.

Reporting on the marriage of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert on 10 February 1840, The Times newspaper wrote that 'Her Majesty wore no diamonds on her head, nothing but a simple wreath of orange blossom'. The Queen's simple floral adornment, an emblem of chastity, spawned a fashion for orange blossom jewellery. 

Between 1839 and 1846, Prince Albert presented Queen Victoria with a number of pieces from a beautiful orange blossom parure (matching set of jewellery) to mark significant moments in their lives. In 1845 Albert gave Victoria another orange blossom brooch and matching earrings, and the following year his gift of an orange blossom wreath celebrated their wedding anniversary. The wreath incorporates four budding orange fruits, thought to symbolise the four children the couple had at this point.  Queen Victoria continued to wear pieces from the parure on her wedding anniversary throughout her married life.  The complete set of Queen Victoria's orange blossom jewellery will be on display for the first time in Scotland.

Queen Victoria expressed her love for her family by commissioning jewellery incorporating her children's milk teeth.  In November 1864, the jewellers R & S Garrard set the milk teeth of Princess Beatrice, the Queen's youngest child, in gold and enamel mounts to create a pendant and pair of earrings in the form of fuchsia flowers, said to symbolise taste.

Painting Paradise: The Art of the Garden explores 400 years of horticultural art in the Royal Collection, from spectacular paintings of epic royal landscapes to jewel-like manuscripts and delicate botanical studies.  The exhibition brings together over 75 paintings, drawings, books, manuscripts and decorative arts from the 16th to the early 20th century, including works by Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt van Rijn and Thomas Gainsborough.

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