British photographic history

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Prince Albert: his life and legacy project concludes

The Royal Collection Trust's Prince Albert project has come to an end and is now fully live and accessible. Prince Albert: His Life and Legacy makes freely available a total of 22,000 archival documents, prints and photographs from the Royal Archives, the Royal Collection and the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851. 

The latest additions include Albert and Victoria’s collection of almost 1000 negatives. Prince Albert and Queen Victoria regularly commissioned photographers to record royal household staff at royal residences. The resulting glass plate negatives  depict individuals ranging from equerries and ladies-in-waiting to ghillies and keepers of the Royal Kennels. Among the sitters are Dr Ernst BeckerCarl Ruland and Baron Stockmar who were particularly significant to Prince Albert.

The negatives shown includes work from Bambridge, Fenton, Caldesi and other well-known royal photographers as well as members of the royal family themselves. 

The unique visual record these negatives assemble indicates the high regard the queen and the prince held for their employees, regardless of rank, and provides information on the people the royal couple surrounded themselves with at home.


With thanks to Helen Trompeteler for highlighting this.

Image: Dr Ernst Becker (1826-88), Lucy Kerr (1822-74) 26 - 26 Jul 1854. RCIN 2083108

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Comment by Michael Pritchard on September 27, 2021 at 16:21

What a delightful and poetic comment on the negative. 

Comment by Bobbie Carnegie on September 27, 2021 at 15:33

Plate glass negatives are often gorgeously seductive in what they don't quite reveal ~ tempting us with reversed worlds we can barely hold patience to see an old negative give up its positive secret ~ only to then disappoint when 'the other hidden world' is presented both washed out and darkly unsubtle. Better that some plate glass negatives once having disappointed have their positive progeny destroyed and are never again permitted to give birth ~ remaining negatively seductive as an avowed widow or spinster.

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