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Children's albums

Prince Albert encouraged his children’s interest in photography

Prince Albert encouraged his children to learn photography and a darkroom was established at Windsor Castle in 1855. Dr Ernst Becker (1826-88), Albert’s librarian and tutor to Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (1841-1910), and Prince Alfred (1844-1900), was an accomplished photographer who encouraged the royal children in this interest. Albums compiled by Princess Helena (1846-1923) particularly echo the narrative concerns of her father’s own albums.

In 1867 Henry Cole (1808-82), previously Albert’s collaborator on the Great Exhibition, drew up a Convention for Promoting Universally Reproductions of Works of Art for the Benefit of Museums of All Countries. This Convention echoed Albert’s lifelong values in photography as a means to share access to collections and scholarship. It was supported and signed by his sons Albert Edward, Prince of Wales and Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh.

The albums below reveal how Albert’s children used photography to experience and record the world around them. Highlights include an album of photographs compiled by Prince Alfred, during an official visit to South Africa between July-September 1860, while serving as a midshipman on board HMS Euryalus.