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Prince Albert's Personal Papers

Papers relating to Prince Albert’s personal life and enthusiasms


Letter to Charles Ruland from the photographer commissioned to photograph works by Raphael in the Städel Institute in Frankfurt sending his photographs and explaining the difficulties he had in taking them.

4 Aug 1860

Loose manuscript paper; mounted | 1 document (4 pages) (whole object) | RA VIC/ADDA10/85/467

Hoff states that is at last sending the photographs; his work has been held up by having to move his studio. He wishes to inform Ruland of the difficulties he had to contend with in taking the photographs, which are not as good as he had hoped. The one of the Raphael drawing God shows Noah the rainbow" is a success because the original is clean and unmarked. The other drawing of Timoclea the Theban woman was more difficult because of the dark blot on it, which is reddish-yellow in the original; he tried a longer exposure so that it would appear less dark against the lines of the drawing, but this made them disappear too much into the background. So he used the shortest possible exposure and the contours of the drawing are as clear as in the original. The oil paintings gave him a great deal of trouble because of the risk to them. At first he photographed the Portrait of a Young Man in the sun but its varnish began to suffer from the excessive heat. He therefore had to take it out of the sun but despite at least six attempts he could not improve on the enclosed photograph because the clothing is of such a dark brown that none of it shows up in the photograph; when he tried a longer exposure the head lost strength and clarity. The Madonna is a complete failure because the split in the painting made it too dangerous to photograph in the sun while in the shade its silvery-white varnish gives it such a sheen that it loses all definition. Photographing it in the dark would not work at all; he tried it with a dark-lantern but the colours are all green red and brown and the heads are quite dark. Hoff declares that has rarely had such trouble as with these two oil paintings. So he has made only one copy of each photograph; if Ruland wants more Hoff can send them. He apologises for burdening Ruland with this letter but he had to explain exactly what had happened or Ruland would have thought he had dashed off the work as quickly as possible to get rid of it whereas he spent a day and a half on taking the photographs. As instructed he has not varnished or mounted them. A note by Ruland at the top of the letter records that he acknowledged receipt of the letter and photographs and has asked Hoff to send his invoice and an albumen print of each photograph.
  • Creator(s)

    Philipp Hoff (active c. 1860s) (writer)

    Carl Ruland (1834-1907) (addressee)

  • 1 document (4 pages) (whole object)

  • Object type(s)
      • printed & manuscript material
        • documents
          • correspondence