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Albert and Victoria’s collection shows photographers’ working methods

Family portraits

From the 1850s, Prince Albert and Queen Victoria employed and commissioned photographers on a regular basis to document important family occasions and daily life, including Roger Fenton, Leonida Caldesi (1822-91) and Dr Ernst Becker.

It was not uncommon for the photographers to be summoned to the residency the royal family was residing in at the time. Many of the portrait sessions took place on the gardens or terraces, where the lighting conditions were favourable. When an interior setting was required, elaborate tents and backdrops were erected outdoors. Unlike the resulting photographs that were carefully cropped, the glass plate negatives regularly feature details of the makeshift nature of such constructions. The negatives also reveal the process of review and editing, manifested by scratched out images indicating displeasing poses and masked out areas concealing unfavourable elements. Such elements and procedures visible exclusively in the negatives provide a fascinating insight into the working methods of nineteenth-century photographers.

Leonida Caldesi (1823-91)

The Royal Family

Leonida Caldesi (1823-91)

The Royal Family at Osborne

Leonida Caldesi (1823-91)

The Royal Family at Osborne

Dudley Charles Fitzgerald, 24th Baron de Ros (1827-1907)

Group portrait at Osborne

Dudley Charles Fitzgerald, 24th Baron de Ros (1827-1907)

Group portrait at Osborne

Dudley Charles Fitzgerald, 24th Baron de Ros (1827-1907)

Prince Leopold, Princess Beatrice and Prince Arthur outside Osborne House

Dr Ernst Becker (1826-88)

The Royal Family at Osborne

Dr Ernst Becker (1826-88)

The Queen and the Court at Osborne

Dr Ernst Becker (1826-88)

The Royal Family, Osborne

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Queen Victoria (1819-1901)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Queen Victoria (1819-1901)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Queen Victoria (1819-1901)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Queen Victoria (1819-1901)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Queen Victoria (1819-1901)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Queen Victoria (1819-1901)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Queen Victoria (1819-1901)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Queen Victoria (1819-1901)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Queen Victoria (1819-1901)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Queen Victoria (1819-1901)

Leonida Caldesi (1823-91)

Queen Victoria (1819-1901)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Prince Albert (1819-61)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Prince Albert (1819-61)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Prince Albert (1819-61)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Prince Albert (1819-61)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Prince Albert (1819-61)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Prince Albert (1819-61)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Prince Albert (1819-61)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Prince Albert, Prince Consort (1819-1861)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Prince Albert (1819-61)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Prince Albert, Prince Consort (1819-61)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Prince Albert (1819-61)

After Bryan Edward Duppa (1804-66)

Prince Albert (1819-1861)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Prince Albert

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

The Princess Royal 

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

The Princess Royal 

Fratelli d'Alessandri (active 1850-1930)

The Prince of Wales with his entourage in Rome

Fratelli d'Alessandri (active 1850-1930)

The Prince of Wales with entourage in Rome

Attributed to Fratelli d'Alessandri (active 1850-1930)

The Prince of Wales with his entourage in Rome

Thomas Pearce (active c. 1850s)

Group portrait at Balmoral

After John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Albert Edward, Prince of Wales

After John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Albert Edward, Prince of Wales

Roger Fenton (1819-69)

The Prince of Wales and

Dudley Charles Fitzgerald, 24th Baron de Ros (1827-1907)

Princess Alice, later Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine (1843-78)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Princess Helena (1846-1923)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Princess Helena (1846-1923)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Princess Helena (1846-1923)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Princess Helena (1846-1923)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Princess Helena (1846-1923)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Princess Helena (1846-1923)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Princess Helena (1846-1923)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Princess Helena (1846-1923)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Princess Helena (1846-1923)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Princess Helena (1846-1923)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Princess Helena (1846-1923)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Princess Helena (1846-1923)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Princess Helena (1846-1923)

Leonida Caldesi (1823-91)

Princess Helena (1846-1923)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Princess Helena 

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Princess Helena (1846-1923)

Attributed to Thomas Pearce (active c. 1850s)

Prince Arthur

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Prince Leopold, later Duke of Albany (1853-84)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Prince Leopold, later Duke of Albany (1853-84)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Prince Leopold, later Duke of Albany (1853-84)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany (1853-84)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Princess Beatrice (1857-1944)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Princess Beatrice (1857-1944)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Princess Beatrice (1857-1944)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Princess Beatrice (1857-1944)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Princess Beatrice (1857-1944)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Princess Beatrice (1857-1944)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Princess Beatrice (1857-1944)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Princess Beatrice (1857-1939)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Princess Beatrice (1857-1944)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Princess Beatrice (1857-1944)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Princess Beatrice (1857-1944)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Princess Beatrice (1857-1944)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Princess Beatrice (1857-1944)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Princess Beatrice (1857-1944)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Princess Beatrice (1857-1944)

Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and Saxe-Coburg & Gotha (1844-1900)

Princess Beatrice (1857-1944), later Princess Henry of Battenburg

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Princess Beatrice (1857-1944)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Princess Beatrice (1857-1944)

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Princess Beatrice (1857-1944)

William George Lacy (d. 1861)

Princess Beatrice (1857-1944)

William George Lacy (d. 1861)

Princess Beatrice (1857-1944)

Dudley Charles Fitzgerald, 24th Baron de Ros (1827-1907)

Princess Beatrice (1857-1944) with two women

Dudley Charles Fitzgerald, 24th Baron de Ros (1827-1907)

Princess Beatrice (1857-1944) and 

Dudley Charles Fitzgerald, 24th Baron de Ros (1827-1907)

Princess Beatrice (1857-1944)

Attributed to Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and Saxe-Coburg & Gotha (1844-1900)

Queen Victoria with Princess Charlotte of Prussia and Princess Beatrice

Frances Sally Day (1815-92)

Princess Helena (1846-1923)

Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and Saxe-Coburg & Gotha (1844-1900)

Princess Alice (1843-78)

Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and Saxe-Coburg & Gotha (1844-1900)

Princess Alice (1843-78)

Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and Saxe-Coburg & Gotha (1844-1900)

Princess Beatrice (1857-1944)

Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and Saxe-Coburg & Gotha (1844-1900)

Empress Friedrich (1840-1901), when Crown Princess of Prussia and the German Crown Princess

Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and Saxe-Coburg & Gotha (1844-1900)

Empress Friedrich (1840-1901), when Crown Princess of Prussia

Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and Saxe-Coburg & Gotha (1844-1900)

Prince Alfred, later Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1844-1900)

Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and Saxe-Coburg & Gotha (1844-1900)

Prince Alfred, later Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1844-1900)

Frances Sally Day (1815-92)

Queen Victoria (1819-1901)

Thomas Pearce (active c. 1850s)

Group portrait at Balmoral

Unknown Person

Wooden pavilion

William Bambridge (1810-79)

The Royal Family at Osborne

Dudley Charles Fitzgerald, 24th Baron de Ros (1827-1907)

Group portrait with Prince Albert, Leopold I and Queen Victoria

Dudley Charles Fitzgerald, 24th Baron de Ros (1827-1907)

Group portrait with Prince Albert, Leopold I and Queen Victoria

Dudley Charles Fitzgerald, 24th Baron de Ros (1827-1907)

Group portrait at Buckingham Palace

Dudley Charles Fitzgerald, 24th Baron de Ros (1827-1907)

Group portrait at Buckingham Palace

After Roger Fenton (1819-69)

The Royal Family, Buckingham Palace