Queen Victoria commissioned the Albert Memorial in memory of her beloved husband, Prince Albert, who died in 1861. Sir George Gilbert Scott designed it in the form of a Gothic ciborium, a freestanding structure consisting of a canopy supported by columns, which covers an altar or other revered object. As constructed in Kensington Gardens, London, it involved the talents of a number of craftsmen, mosaicists and sculptors. Most notable among these was John Henry Foley, who was responsible for the gilt bronze statue of Albert, as well as Asia, one of the four allegorical sculptures representing the continents, which mark the outer corners of the sanctuary. Though the memorial was officially opened by Queen Victoria in July 1872, the statue of Albert was not installed until 1876, two years after Foley’s death. In the following decade, Queen Victoria would become one the principal patrons of Gabriele Carelli, the artist of the present watercolour.