A rare pair of large floral paintings by Queen Victoria are going up for auction at Hansons Auctioneers’s London showroom next week. The canvases are expected to fetch between £8,000 and £10,000 ($9,870 and $12,340) each.
Queen Victoria, who oversaw the expansion of the British Empire and made critical reforms to the monarchy, reigned from 1837 until her death in 1901.
Accompanying the paintings is a provenance letter in which Alexander Mountbatten, First Marquess of Carisbrooke and Queen Victoria’s last surviving grandson, reportedly identified them as her work, according to the Evening Standard.
“The royal items were purchased decades ago by the seller’s grandfather,” associate director of Hansons London Chris Kirkham said in astatement.
“I was astounded and delighted in equal measure when I discovered the paintings,” he continued. “I was asked to value a few items at a cottage in Surrey, but had no idea of the magnitude and importance of the antiques tucked away.”
Following the death of Princess Beatrice, Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter, there was a sale of objects from the family’s country estate Osborne House on the Isle of Wight in 1945.
“My grandfather collected amazing objects over the course of his life. He was fascinated by antiques and collectibles. He originated from the Isle of Wight, so it’s no surprise he bought items at a Carisbrooke sale,” the seller said in a statement.
A letterbox previously owned by Queen Victoria, which the consigner’s grandfather acquired at the same time as the paintings, will also be included in the sale. It is expected to fetch between £4,000 and £6,000 ($4,900 and $7,400).
With only 15 recorded lots offered to date, Queen Victoria’s work is rarely sold at auction. An oil painting depicting a maid’s bust that sold at Christie’s London in 2015 holds the queen’s auction record; it went for £30,000 ($45,038). If the two paintings match their estimate, they would be among the expensive ones by her ever publicly auctioned.
“According to the Royal Collection Trust, domestic life provided a common subject for her watercolors and drawings. These studies demonstrate that theme,” Kirkham said.
Last year, King Charles III, a descendant of Queen Victoria, made headlines with his watercolor landscape paintings.