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Albert and Victoria’s collection shows photographers’ working methods

Joseph Cundall (1819-95)

John Ryder (1814-85) as Polixenes May 1856

Wet collodion negative | 25.3 x 20.3 cm (whole object) | RCIN 2084935

10" x 8" glass plate negative showing actor John Ryder as Polixenes in The Winter's Tale. He is standing on a patterned carpet, facing front, wearing an embroidered knee-length tunic with fringes along the bottom edge, embroidered boots, a fringed cape and a conical hat. He has a full beard and long hair and he is holding his Staff of Office. He stands against a plain background. The photograph may recreate the later scenes of the play set in Bohemia.

Charles Kean staged his production of The Winter's Tale at the Princess's Theatre in 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)

    John Ryder (1814-85)
  • 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