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Prince Albert and the Gallery

Prince Albert (1819–1861) shared an enthusiasm for art with his wife Queen Victoria. He was one of the first collectors in Britain to buy so-called primitive Italian and German painting.

Prince Albert had a keen appreciation of painting. His largest acquisition, however, came about by default. In 1847 he acted as guarantor on a loan for one of his relatives – Prince Ludwig von Oettingen-Wallerstein (1791-1870). As surety, Prince Albert was given a collection of German, Italian and Netherlandish paintings. When the loan fell through, Prince Albert acquired all 100 works.

Though this was not an act of connoisseurship, there were some high quality works among this collection including a triptych by Giusto de’ Menabuoi, and Pintoricchio’s Virgin and Child.

In line with his wishes, after Prince Albert's death Queen Victoria offered the collection to the nation. Twenty-five of these paintings were selected by the National Gallery. Three others are currently on loan from HM The Queen.