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Prince Albert collected photographs of places significant to him

James Mack (1827-64)

The Kremlin, Moscow Sep 1856

Albumen print | 19.2 x 28.4 cm (image) | RCIN 2945147

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This photograph was likely taken from the bell tower of a church (possibly St Nicholas in Tolmachi or the Church of the Resurrection of Christ in Kadashi) and it is testimony of Mack's remarkable technical skills. Successful cityscapes of this kind, especially in Russia, are rare for the time.

Looking from left to right, the photograph shows the Borovitsky gate and the Armoury Palace, the Grand Palace and Cathedral Square with the Cathedral of the Annunciation, the Dormition Cathedral, the Archangel Cathedral and the Ivan the Great bell tower; the domes of other Kremlin churches can also be seen. The Kremlin towers in the foreground and the Ivan Veliki tower are decorated with wooden structures that were to be used for the lighting up of the Kremlin part of the evening celebrations of the coronation of Alexander II. To the right of the great tower, in the background, the Chudov monastery (demolished in 1929) and the Nicholas Palace (birthplace of Alexander II) can also be seen.

The Coronation of Alexander II, planned for September 1856, was regarded as a diplomatic event of critical importance due to the recent conclusion of the Crimean War. A special diplomatic mission representing Queen Victoria was therefore sent to attend the ceremony. Led by Lord Granville, the party also included a photographer, Corporal Mack of the Royal Engineers, chosen to document the visit. This is one of the nineteen photographs that Mack personally presented to Queen Victoria on their return. The Queen described him as 'a remarkably intelligent, well educated young man'.

  • Creator(s)

    James Mack (1827-64) (photographer)

  • 19.2 x 28.4 cm (image)

  • Presented to Queen Victoria by the photographer on behalf of Lord Panmure (later known as Lord Dalhousie) on 11 November 1856.

  • Object type(s)
      • visual works
        • photographs
    Subject(s)
    • Places
      • Europe
        • Russia
          • Moscow [Russia]
            • Kremlin [Moscow]
              • Grand Kremlin Palace [Kremlin]
              • Ivan the Great Bell Tower [Kremlin, Moscow]
              • Dormition Cathedral [Kremlin, Moscow]
    • Arts, Recreation, Entertainment & Sport
      • Architecture
        • Ecclesiastical & religious architecture
          • Cathedrals