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Prince Albert's Personal Papers

Papers relating to Prince Albert’s personal life and enthusiasms


Letter from Joseph Albert to Charles Ruland protesting at the latter's comment that his charges for the photographs commissioned by the Prince Consort were high.

18 Jul 1860

Loose manuscript paper; mounted | 1 document (4 pages) (whole object) | RA VIC/ADDA10/85/487

In response to a letter from Ruland commenting that his charges were high, Albert protests that Ruland has not given due consideration to the circumstances behind the amount he has charged. Because the honour of the Prince Consort's commission was more important to Albert than the money, he leaves it HRH to reduce the bill if it seems too much. But he cannot resist explaining his charges in more detail. He goes on to state that in Munich every day he is paid the same for photographing and making prints of the works of artists, without the laborious retouching that had to be done [in the case of Raphael] to produce something comprehensible. His travel costs were exactly as charged. Therefore his living costs, with one assistant, are the only element to which Ruland's remarks could apply, and he states that while working for the Archduke of Austria in Innsbruck he had free travel and food in the Residence and received 22 [thaler] a day; even then he made a large loss in his Munich business, where he has 50 employees. He had to send an assistant on another assignment instead of going himself, as he could not afford such losses in Munich. He has recently turned down all similar commissions, some even better paid, for the same reason. Prince Carl of Bavaria paid him 88 [thalers], without comment, for a small photograph and a copy; and he is paid 110 [thalers] for retouched portraits and 400 for life-sized portraits. While he is away he aften loses 150-200 [thalers] a day, so Ruland will understand that 25 [thalers] a day by no means makes up for that. So he only undertakes such commissions when they are an honour. Albert affirms that he does not want to appear to the Prince Consort to be taking advantage of him to line his own pockets, when on the contrary he has not even taken the full extent of his losses into consideration, so he hopes that someone will explain the real position to HRH. Finally, however, he leaves it to the Prince to reduce the bill as he thinks fit. At the foot of the letter is a copy of Ruland's reply stating that instructions for the payment of Albert's bill for 244 [thaler] were given some time ago, and commenting ironically on the pleasing news that owners of photographic studios in Munich can achieve an annual income of some 60,000 [thalers].
  • Creator(s)

    Albert, Joseph; Court photographer in Munich (writer) [18 July 1860]

    Ruland, Charles (addressee)

  • 1 document (4 pages) (whole object)