British photographic history

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Prince Albert archive and collections published online

Thousands of photographs, prints and letters that reveal the private passions and public interests of Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert have been published online to mark the 200th anniversary of his birth. 

The Royal Collection Trust has digitised 17,500 documents for a new website, the majority publicly available for the first time. The website will bring together 10,000 photographs collected and commissioned by Prince Albert; the Raphael Collection, the Prince's study collection of more than 5,000 prints and photographs after the works of Raphael; and official and private papers relating to Prince Albert. They are presented in groups that frequently reflect Albert’s vision for the development and organisation of his collections and papers.

Of particular interest is the photographs collection. Prince Albert played an integral role in the advancement of photography. During a stay in Brighton in 1842, Albert attended the photographic studio of William Constable. The resulting portrait is the earliest surviving photograph of a British royal family member. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were joint patrons of the (later Royal) Photographic Society shortly after its foundation in 1853.

During his lifetime, Prince Albert cultivated a collection of some 10,000 photographs by pioneering nineteenth-century photographers such as Frances Sally Day, Roger Fenton, Oscar Gustav Rejlander, Charles Thurston Thomspon and George Washington Wilson. Together these photographs reflect Prince Albert’s unwavering belief in photography as an art form, and his advocacy of its value as a historical record and a means to share knowledge.

See: https://albert.rct.uk/

and news report: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/aug/23/prince-albert-passi...

Image: WILLIAM EDWARD KILBURN (1818-91)
Prince Albert (1819-1861) 1848
Hand-coloured daguerreotype | 8.6 x 6.3 cm (image) (image) | RCIN 2932487

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Comment by Helen Trompeteler on August 25, 2019 at 10:18

In addition to the photographs collection (https://albert.rct.uk/collections), readers of British photographic history will also be interested in documents from the Royal Archives, including bills, receipts and letters, which further demonstrate Prince Albert's engagement with photography. https://albert.rct.uk/collections/royal-archives/prince-alberts-per...

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