The Ouless book of etchings of the visit of Queen Victoria to Jersey

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Queen Victoria's visit to Jersey - Ouless etchings


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Landing of Her Majesty Queen Victoria and Prince Albert at Victoria Harbour

The visit of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to Jersey in 1846 was the first ever official visit by a reigning monarch, and as such was eagerly anticipated by islanders. Although the first photographs had been taken in the island a couple of years earlier, the processes were still not sufficiently advanced to allow for photographic coverage of the visit and it was left to Jersey's two principal artists of the day, Philip Ouless and John Le Capelain, to produce a pictorial record of the famous day.

The Royal Procession passing St Mark's Church

Scenic Beauties

Ouless was a prolific artist. A collection of his work called Scenic Beauties was presented to the Queen during her visit and she asked him to produce a picture of the harbour as she landed there. He went on to illustrate the whole of the Royal Visit and it was later published as the Royal Jersey Album. The pictures from the album are reproduced on this page.

The first picture produced by Ouless during the visit was of the Royal Squadron entering St Aubin's Bay. From a Harbour viewpoint the picture shows Elizabeth Castle with the Royal Yacht and its three accompanying steamers in the distance, having just rounded Noirmont Point. The Bailiff, a representative from the Lieutenant-Governor and the Queen's ADC all boarded the Royal Yacht. Sir John Le Couteur had with him a copy of the book by Ouless to present to Victoria.

Gloucester Street had the largest, tallest, and the most handsomely decorated of all the arches

Squadron anchors

The view of the Royal Squadron at anchor is taken from Belle Vue, the home of Sir John Le Couteur, overlooking St Aubin's Harbour. The four visiting ships can be seen beyond St Aubin's Fort.

In the evening as darkness fell, fireworks illuminated the sky in honour of the Queen.

The Royal party landed at Victoria Pier the following morning. The party consisted of the Queen, Prince Albert, the Prince of Wales, the Princess Royal, and several other members of the Royal Household. The harbour was renamed Victoria Harbour in the sovereign's honour. The arrival of the Queen was greeted by thousands of Islanders". There was a military precision to much of the proceedings; but there were also more relaxed moments to her visit. Ouless has here captured enormous detail of the scene at the Harbour, and one can sense the pomp of the occasion.

From the Harbour the procession went past the Weighbridge and along the Esplanade as far as Gloucester Street, where a large archway had been erected over the route. It included a balcony from which the procession could be viewed.

After Gloucester Street came The Parade and the approach to the Royal Square along Broad Street. The triple arch here shows the initials V and A either side of the crown at the top. All available windows were taken by waving crowds.

Detailed drawings

The view of the Royal Square has more fascinating detail. The Royal Court is the second building on the left; the statue of George II is central; and the town church can just be seen behind the railings. From here the Royal party turned through Peirson Place into King Street, and then north into Halkett Place. The market had been handsomely decorated, and there were arches at almost every corner.

The route continued along Beresford Street and up Bath Street towards St Mark's church. The arch here was distinctive in its design, being square and supported with four Norman arches.

The Queen's procession continued along Windsor Crescent and towards St Saviour's Hill. At Government House the Queen decided that she would like to go quickly to Mont Orgueil Castle, so the Royal Party set off again, this time at full gallop.

On arrival at the Castle, the Queen climbed as far as the grand battery, while Prince Albert explored more thoroughly, enjoying particularly the views across to France and around the Island's east coast.

The return journey to town was past La Hougue Bie and the Prince's Tower, and on through Five Oaks, at which point the horses were slowed to a walking pace for the remainder of the drive back to the Harbour.

The farewell to the Queen and her party was as grand as her welcome had been. Thousands of people crowded the quays to glimpse the Royal procession and to wish their monarch well as she left the Island. There was singing and cheering, firing of guns and much satisfaction at Her Majesty's visit to her loyal subjects.

A large crowd gathered in the Royal Square to see the Royal procession go by

The book contained black and white etchings, but, as can be seen here, some of Ouless' pictures of the Royal Visit were finished as colour paintings - some not included here in colour can be found in the gallery on the artist's biography page

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