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Prince Albert was an early adopter of portrait photography


    Jenny Lind (1820-1887)


    Daguerreotype | 11.5 x 9.1 cm (image) | RCIN 2932510

    Daguerreotype of a full length portrait of Jenny Lind standing beside a piano, facing away from the camera, with her head and upper body turned left towards the camera. Her right hand rests on the top of the piano and her left hand is touching the keys. She is wearing a long dress and a dark colour lace shawl. The mirror on the wall to the right reflects her back and there is an ornate side table beneath it. The daguerreotype is mounted under glass.

    Queen Victoria attended the first London performance given by the Swedish soprano Jenny Lind on the 4th of May 1847. She described the occasion in her journal: 'The great event of the evening however was Jenny Lind's appearance & her complete triumph. She has the most exquisite, powerful, & really quite peculiar voice'. She later sang among the choristers at the wedding of the Prince of Wales in St George's Chapel in 1863.

    William Kilburn exhibited several daguerreotypes at the 1851 Great Exhibition, with this image being particularly well received. The exhibition jury commented: 'For novelty of design we may mention a small picture of the interior of a room, including a whole-length portrait of Jenny Lind: beside, and near her, is a large mirror, in which the figure is reflected. That the reflection in the glass is equally perfect with the original is the point worthy of remark and commendation'.

    The daguerreotype was also reproduced with significant cropping in carte-de-visite format, such as in the example today kept at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London (Museum Number S.138:66-2007).
    • Creator(s)

      William Edward Kilburn (1818-91) (photographer)


      Jenny Lind (1820-87)
    • 11.5 x 9.1 cm (image)

      16.9 x 14.3 x 0.5 cm (whole object)

      11.6 x 9.2 cm (sight)

    • Jenny Lind (1820-87) standing at a piano

    • Acquired by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1849

    • Subject(s)
      • Arts, Recreation, Entertainment & Sport
        • Music
          • Musical instruments
            • Keyboard instruments
              • Pianofortes
      Object type(s)
        • visual works
          • photographs