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In 1843 Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, commissioned a number of painters to decorate a small garden pavilion in the grounds of Buckingham Palace. The artists were to select scenes from the masque Comus by the seventeenth-century poet John Milton, and subjects from the work of the Romantic novelist and poet Walter Scott. Like Boydell's Shakespeare Gallery (see Lear and Cordelia displayed above) it was hoped that the project would help encourage British history painting.

This is Edwin Landseer's preliminary sketch, showing the rout of Comus and his company of revellers. The pavilion was pulled down in 1928.

September 2004