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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 18.3 cm (image) | RCIN 2909978

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Hand-coloured photograph of actor Charles Kean wearing the costume of King Richard II in Act 3 scene 1 of the homonymous play, as performed at the Princess's Theatre, Oxford Street. The photograph captures the moment that the King arrives in Milford Haven having returned from Ireland. Kean wears a red velvet tunic embroidered in gold over armour. He holds what appears to be a sceptre in his right hand and sword on his left side. Three other male actors stand in the background: two young boys on the left hand side and a man in armour on the right who holds a halberd.

In February 1857, Richard II was performed by Kean's company in St George's Hall. 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 18.3 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