ENTRANE GATE AT REINHARDSBRUNN
Initialled, titled & dated l.l. August 27th 1863
Watercolour with pencil
35 x 24.2 cm
Christie's, South Kensington, British & Continental Watercolours & Drawings, 11.12.2007, Lot 675
Royal Watercolour Society, Winter 1887, Rheinhardsbrunn (the seat of H.R.H. the late Prince Consort)
Callow was an establishment figure and one of England's most admired artists in watercolour by the time this work was painted. On the death of Albert, Prince Consort, Callow considered commemorating him with a series of views of the late Prince's homeland:
"After the death of the Prince Consort, which had recently occured, I thought that some drawings of Coburg, Rheinhardsbrunn and other royal palaces with which he had been connected would be of interest to the public, so I wrote to the Duchess Augustus of Saxe-Coburg, formerly my pupil, Princess Clementine [see our other work by Callow of the Gardens at St Cloud for a note on this relationship], asking her to obtain permission for me to sketch at these palaces, which she readily obtained. In August 1863 we arrived at Coburg...On learning that the Royal Family had arrived at Coburg, I at once left my card at the Palace, and on the same evening I received a command to go there the next morning. I was welcomed by the Duke and Duchess and their daughters, to whom I showed my sketches. The Duchess requested me to leave them with her, as she was going to Rosenau to see Queen Victoria, who had arrived there, and on the next day I was commanded by the Queen to present myself at the Chateau at eleven o'clock on the following morning...I was duly presented, but Her Majesty graciously said, 'I remember Mr Callow perfectly." After looking through my sketches, and expressing her admiration for them, the Queen told me of a number of places of interest which I ought to visit and sketch...she graciously offered to make a note of them for me..."
Callow left Coburg soon after, having been invited to Potsdam by the Prince and Princess of Prussia (the latter being Queen Victoria's daughter). On his way there. "On leaving Coburg, we visited Rheinhardsbrunn and Gotha, making numerous sketches at both places" (1).
The Queen commissioned eight watercolours, including a view of Coburg, for which Callow was paid £105 on 22nd January 1864. These can now be found in the Royal Collections Trust. The present work is noticeably larger than any of those in the Royal Collections, perhaps as Callow wished to exhibit it himself at the RWS. As was often his way, this did not happen until many years later (1887).
(1) William Callow & Herbert Minton Cundall, William Callow – An Autobiography, London (1908), pp. 121-126