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Learn more about the photographic techniques available in the mid-19th century

William Constable (1783-1861)

Prince Albert (1819-1861) 5 - 5 Mar 1842

Daguerreotype | 8.7 x 6.3 cm (case) (image) | RCIN 2932488

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This is the first known photograph to have survived of a member of the British royal family. In 1842, Prince Albert visited William Constable's (1783-1861) photographic studio in Brighton, while the court was residing at the Royal Pavilion. During his visit, he had his portrait taken. This daguerreotype is one of two taken on the day. The works were delivered to Queen Victoria a few days later. In her journal, the Queen commented:

Saw the photographs which are quite good

Queen Victoria's Journal, RA VIC/MAIN/QVJ (W) 7 March 1842 (Princess Beatrice's copies)

The daguerreotype is presented in a  dark brown leather case with a red velvet interior. 'P. A. Feb 1842' is embossed on the lid in gold lettering and 'Beard Patented' is stamped beneath the daguerreotype. The work was intended to be an intimate and portable object.