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Photographic Technologies

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


Queen Victoria's birthday table, Osborne House


Hand coloured photograph | 21.1 x 25.2 cm (image) | RCIN 2937245

On birthdays, the royal family regularly engaged in the tradition of creating birthday tables. Presents were carefully arranged on a central table that was decorated with plants and flowers. The tables were often recorded through photographs. 

This hand coloured photograph documents a birthday table for Queen Victoria at Osborne House in 1858. 

Queen Victoria recorded the day in her journal:

When dressed I went with Albert to the present room, where dear Mama & the 8, instead of 9, Children stood. Alice gave me a dear note & nosegay, from her & Vicky. Received so many lovely things, which it would take too long to enumerate.

Queen Victoria's Journal, RA VIC/MAIN/QVJ (W) 24 May 1858 (Princess Beatrice's copies)