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Prince Albert was an early adopter of portrait photography

Martin Laroche (1814-86)

Mr Charles Kean (1811-68) as King Richard II 1857

Hand coloured photograph | 22.5 x 18.2 cm (image) | RCIN 2909970

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Hand coloured photograph of actor Charles Kean as King Richard II from the opening scene of Act 1 scene 1 of the homonymous play by William Shakespeare. Kean is seated on a throne on a raised platform, facing towards the camera. He wears a blue tunic with gold and white patterning, a red velvet robe lined with ermine and a crown. He holds a sceptre.

In February 1857, Richard II was performed by Kean's company in St George's Hall, Windsor Castle. Kean then opened the production of Shakespeare's play in March 1857 at the Princess's Theatre in Oxford Street. Queen Victoria and her family visited the theatre to watch the production five times where it made a lasting impression on Princess Victoria, the Queen's eldest daughter. This photograph and other hand coloured photographs of the cast of the play were purchased by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria in 1857 as a Christmas present.   
  • Creator(s)

    Martin Laroche (1814-86) (photographer)

    Martin Laroche (1814-86) (colourist)

    Charles John Kean (1811-68)
  • 22.5 x 18.2 cm (image)

  • Given to Queen Victoria by Prince Albert as a Christmas gift

  • Object type(s)
      • visual works
        • photographs
    • Science, Medicine and Technology
      • Industries, Crafts and Trades
        • Toys and Decorations
          • Theatrical costumes