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Drawings by teenage Queen Victoria to go up for auction

By Rosa Rahimi, CNN

London (CNN) — A set of 19th-century drawings by a teenage Queen Victoria will be put up for auction in London next week.

Three of the sketches were made when the British queen, who reigned from 1837 until her death in 1901, was still a princess and only 14 years old. Dated July 1833, they each depict a different figure on horseback – a knight, a woman, and a veiled woman.

The fourth drawing is from 1838, one year after Victoria ascended the throne. It shows a seated woman with a crown and sash – not unlike her in appearance – and is inscribed “by Her Majesty.”

“These slightly early drawings show that maybe she was still learning a lot, that she was still honing her craft,” explained Charlotte Russell, Head of Sale for Old Master, British and European Pictures at Roseberys, the London-based auction house facilitating the sale on July 9. “She was very curious and keen as an artist,” Russell told CNN.

Roseberys has set an estimated sale price of £1,500 to £2,500 ($1,900 to $3,170) for the Victorian album that contains the four sketches, as well as works by other artists and items of royal ephemera.

Russell says the album was probably assembled by Augusta Hayter, daughter-in-law of George Hayter, who painted the Queen’s coronation portrait and was her court painter for many years.

George Hayter also gave the Queen drawing lessons, and Russell believes these drawings show his influence “quite closely”.

The album also features royal ephemera, including an invitation to the coronation of King George IV at Westminster Abbey in 1821.

“I’m interested to see how it performs,” said Russell. The auction house has previously sold other works by royal artists, including a painting by Queen Victoria’s daughter, Princess Victoria, which fetched £4,198 (around $5,320) last year.

Art was one of Victoria’s great loves – a passion she shared with her husband, Prince Albert. As newlyweds, the couple learned to etch together and would occasionally give their creations to family and friends.

The Royal Collection Trust, which looks after the royal family’s art collection, has more than 4,000 works by Queen Victoria, spanning 64 years of her life.

The queen was a “talented” and “prolific” artist, according to the trust. She received her first drawing lesson when she was eight years old and went on to be tutored by renowned artists like Edwin Landseer, William Leighton Leitch and Franz Xaver Winterhalter.

She often drew from what she observed around her – nature, domestic life, people she encountered on her travels.

“She is known to have experimented quite a lot with different subjects,” said Russell, who added that Victoria would make “little sketches of costumes of people in the areas” where she traveled.

Last year, two paintings by the queen depicting vases of flowers were found in an English cottage and sold for £19,500 (around $25,000).

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