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Albert and Victoria’s collection shows photographers’ working methods

Joseph Cundall (1819-95)

Ellen Tree (1805-80) as Hermione May 1856

Wet collodion negative | 25.3 x 20.3 cm (whole object) | RCIN 2084932

10" x 8" glass plate negative showing actress Ellen Tree (Mrs Charles Kean) as Hermione in the opening scene set in the court at Sicilia of The Winter's Tale. She is standing on a patterned carpet, wearing an embroidered tunic tied at the waist, with material loosely wrapped around the bottom half of her body, shoulder and arm; flower garland on her head. Plain background behind her.

Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale was produced by Charles Kean, husband of Ellen, at the Princess's Theatre, Oxford Street in 1856. Queen Victoria went to see the production on four separate occasions. The glass plate negative has been photographed showing the coated side and therefore the image appears laterally reversed. It is possible that Ernst Becker, Prince Albert's librarian, arranged the sitting with the photographer on behalf of the Prince or Queen Victoria. Prints from this negative do not seem to exist in the Collection.

  • Creator(s)

    Joseph Cundall (1819-95) (photographer)

    Ellen Kean (1805-80)
  • 25.3 x 20.3 cm (whole object)

  • Acquired by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert

  • Object type(s)
      • visual works
        • photographs
          • negatives
            • glass plate negatives
    • Science, Medicine and Technology
      • Industries, Crafts and Trades
        • Toys and Decorations
          • Theatrical costumes