Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Osborne House

Today our Queen becomes Britain's longest reigning  monarch - she has now eclipsed her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria. The following post has been languishing in my 'drafts' and today seemed an opportune moment to finally show it
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"It is impossible to imagine a prettier spot" said Queen Victoria of her palatial holiday home, Osborne House.
A ferry journey from Portsmouth or Lymington takes you across the Solent to the Isle of Wight
Osborne House, built between 1845 - 1851 was the summer retreat of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. A place where they could relax away from London, and spend time with their 9 children. Prince Albert designed the house himself in the style of an Italian Renaissance palazzo.
The formal gardens at the rear of the house have spectacular views across the Solent back to Portsmouth on the mainland
Hidden in the woods at Osborne is a little Swiss Chalet which was brought piece by piece from Switzerland and then reassembled for the royal children
Swiss Cottage - W.L. Leitch - 1855 
Known as Swiss Cottage, its aim was to provide the royal children with the experience of being 'ordinary citizens'. In the cottage garden Albert laid out rectangular beds for his children to grow their own fruit, vegetables and flowers. They wore smocks and clogs, and sold the produce to their father at the market rate. It was cooked in the kitchen at the big house and brought to the table for their family meals.
Entrance to the Walled Garden
The Walled Garden is unusual because it dates from the time of the original 18th century mansion which stood in the grounds. When Queen Victoria bought the property it was described in the particulars of the sale as being 'fully cropped and stocked with choice standard and other trees'. Once the new house was built, Prince Albert considerably embellished the garden by making the walls higher and adding ornamental decorative stonework. The portico above, from the demolished mansion, was incorporated into a handsome new entrance.
Inside the Walled Garden
This magnificent rhubarb is called 'Victoria'
The Royal family stayed at Osborne for lengthy periods each year: in the spring for Victoria's birthday; in July and August when they celebrated Albert's birthday; and just before Christmas. However, Victoria's and Albert's domestic idyll at Osborne House was not to continue. In December 1861, Prince Albert died aged just 42 years at Windsor Castle. During her widowhood, Osborne House continued as one of Queen Victoria's favourite homes, but she was bereft without her Albert.
via
Queen Victoria with John Brown at Osborne House in 1870 - Print after Sir Edwin Landseer

38 comments:

  1. I'd love a walled garden. That one is beautiful.

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    1. I think that I would be quite happy now just to have a small walled garden to tend.

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  2. Your Queen is stil going strong and looking very well. She will be 100 I think as her mother.
    The Osborne House was an idyllic place to live there for the Royal family.

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    1. She is 90 years on her next birthday, and she certainly looks as if she could be around for as long as her mother

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  3. Dear Rosemary, The prettiest grounds I have ever seen. You have captured them beautifully.

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    1. Actually these are old photos Gina, I took them with my very first digital camera, and I am now on camera number three, so I think the photos are at least 4 years old.

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  4. I love the walled garden.
    I cannot imagine having that Swiss chalet, just for the children!

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    1. I expect it kept all nine of them occupied and busy.

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  5. I am sure QEII will eclipse Victoria's record by many years -- look at how long the Queen Mum lived!

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    1. She looks pretty good for her age, and could well surpass her mother the way she is going - she still trots around in high heel shoes

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  6. Such an auspicious day for the realm - what an amazing Queen she is and hopefully will continue to be for many more years.

    Rosemary, these are beautiful photos of Osborne House (the last one of the painting with John Brown is interesting - didn't recall Victoria had him accompany her there as her companion). The gardens are so lovely - I love Queen of the Night tulips mixed with the lower yellow plants against the backdrop of the creamy colored palace, and the yellow tulips with masses of blue forget-me-nots. The walled garden is truly gorgeous, and Swiss Cottage for the children sounded like a wonderful idea, especially them growing veggies for the family's enjoyment.

    Photos are wonderful Rosemary - thanks for sharing this delightful place on this wonderful day.
    Mary -


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    1. As I mentioned Mary, this post has been sitting forlornly in drafts, and then this morning I suddenly realised that I could show the Queen and also her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria whom she has just surpassed.
      Osborne House is somewhere that I had always wanted to visit, but it seemed a bit of an effort having to take the car on a ferry - of course I was wrong, it is as easy as pie to go across.

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  7. Amazing women is the Queen. It's been on the news today down here...
    I do like the house and garden...

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    1. It no longer belongs to the Royal family Margaret and can be visited by anyone now

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  8. Hello Rosemary, The Italian Villa (revival) style is among my top favorites, and Osborne House is one of its greatest examples, with its elegant proportions and two towers. Luckily, it was one of the most photographed houses of the 19th century, and these pictures probably furthered the popularity of the style both in England and in the U.S. New Haven, Connecticut, where I went to college, was especially blessed with fine villas by such local architects as Ithiel Town and Henry Austin.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - I like this Italian palazzo style too - in fact I have always had a secret hankering for an Italianate tower or two!

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  9. Again so wonderful place and really lovely photos. I really love to look these.
    The Queen is lovely woman and person.
    Hugs

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    1. I am so pleased that you enjoyed looking at the photos Orvokki - hope you are still enjoying sunny days

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  10. Such a special day for your country Rosemary. Congratulations to your queen for becoming the longest reigning monarch! It's hard to believe that she is approaching 90, because she still looks so good.

    I enjoyed your photo's of Osborne house. Such a beautiful place! I hope to be able to see the Isle of Wight and the house and it's gardens for myself one day.

    Have a lovely evening!

    Madelief x

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    1. Do try and visit sometime Madelief, there is such a lot to see and do there.

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  11. Let your queen for a long time dead. Beautifully showed us the place where he liked to be her great grandmother. Beautiful castle and a beautiful garden. Regards.

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    1. Yes, this was the holiday home built by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria and all of their children

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  12. I was in Lee on Solent last week for the first time. The Isle of Wight looked very close. I'll make the trip to see the gardens next time I'm over.

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    1. If you catch an early ferry from Southampton to East Cowes, it is then a 25 mins walk to Osborne House, but I suspect you could easily get a bus too.

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  13. When I see this I can only sigh.....what a wonderful place, I love that walled garden and the greenhouse. Funny thing: two years ago I got a packet of seed of Rhubarb 'Victoria'. I have sown them and gave all my gardenfriends a 'Victoria' rhubarb plant.

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    1. That is very interesting Janneke and now you also know the history of your Rhubarb Victoria, it has a regal background

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  14. A perfectly timely post, and what a beautiful house, Rosemary. Now I know why Queen Victoria loved it so much. The formal garden with its yellow tulips, and view out to sea, is very special. They family must have enjoyed their times there very much, and the Swiss Chalet idea is very charming for a large brood of children. Prince Albert was obviously a gift architect, the lines and elegant proportion of the house are so appealing. I wonder why the present royal family lost interest in the property.

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    1. Queen Victoria died at Osborne House, and following her death the house became surplus to royal requirements. It was gifted to the country by Edward V11 in 1902. A few rooms were kept as a private royal museum dedicated to Queen Victoria, and the rest was used as a junior officer training college for the Royal Navy, who now no longer use it.
      Today the house, and gardens are fully open to the public.

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  15. Such a lovely place - I have no idea if our Queen uses it - I have never heard it mentioned - is it just for tourists now?

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    1. Dear Elaine - Royals occasionally visit but not to stay. Osborne House and grounds are now owned by English Heritage. The beach lying below the house has been restored and for the first time that is now open to visitors. They have even restored Victoria's original bathing machine and returned it to the site.

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  16. A very opportune day to share this beautiful post!!! xx p.s. it wasn't languishing, it was just waiting for today! xx

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    1. I had forgotten about it as I have several posts sitting around waiting for the right moment.

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  17. If you didn't know better you could actually think you were in Italy !

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    1. You are right Jane - that building could easily be in Italy

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  18. Hi Rosemary, It is many years since we last visited Osborne House and we thought it was in such a lovely location I thought the Swiss cottage was so lovely it must have been wonderful for Queen Victoria's children to have stayed there. Part of the palace was set aside as a convalescence home, my mum went to stay there at least twice in the 1990's and they were able to use some of the facilities when the building was shut to the public. Sarah x

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    1. If you need to convalesce then I couldn't imagine a better place to do it.

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  19. We used to pop over to the Island for daytrips and holidays when I was a boy - wonderful memories. I have vague memories of Osborne - the Dolls' House sticks in my head. So much more there than I remember. So much to see and do on the Isle of Wight, actually. And it was a well-chosen moment to launch your post.

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    1. I have only been to the IOW this once, and we really enjoyed it. It must have been quite an adventure going over on the ferry when you were a boy.

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