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Prince Albert used photography to document exhibitions and works of art

Claude-Marie Ferrier (1811-89)

The Great Exhibition, 1851: Shield presented to the Prince of Wales by the King of Prussia 1851

Salted paper print | 17.0 x 16.2 cm (image) | RCIN 2800069

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Photograph of the Glaubensschild (Shield of Faith) given by Frederick William IV, King of Prussia, as a christening gift to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's first son, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales.The symbolism of the shield, which is covered in biblical scenes and bears the image of Christ the Saviour in its centre, evokes the idea of Christianity as a form of protective armour. It also acknowledges that, as future king, Albert Edward (later King Edward VII) would one day assume the role of Defender of the Faith. The exceptional craftsmanship of the piece, which took five years to make (1842-47), was highly praised by Prince Albert who compared the work to the best efforts of 'the classic Italianmasters of the 15th and 16th centuries' and decided to loan it to the Great Exhibition.

This photograph is from Volume III (RCIN 2800002) of ' Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, 1851: Reports by the Juries on the Subjects in the Thirty Classes into which the Exhibition was Divided'. The incredibly successful Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, commonly known as the Great Exhibition, ran from May to October 1851. At the exhibition's conclusion, over 100 copies of the four volume 'Reports by the Juries' were distributed to foreign governments and notable participants. The reports consist of the juries' comments and assessments of the works displayed in the exhibition. The idea and decision to illustrate the reports with photographs is attributed to Prince Albert (1819-61).

  • Creator(s)

    Claude-Marie Ferrier (1811-89) (photographer)

    Jesus Christ
  • 17.0 x 16.2 cm (image)

  • 'Shield presented to the Prince of Wales by the King of Prussia'

  • Presented to Queen Victoria

  • Object type(s)
      • visual works
        • photographs
    • Genealogy and Heraldry
      • Heraldry
        • Escutcheons (coats of arms)
    • Religion & Theology
      • Religions and faiths
        • Christianity