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Albert and Victoria’s collection shows photographers’ working methods

Joseph Cundall (1819-95)

Miss Heath and Miss Leclercq as Florizel and Perdita May 1856

Wet collodion negative | 25.3 x 20.3 cm (whole object) | RCIN 2084939

10" x 8" glass plate negative showing Caroline Heath and Carlotta Leclercq as Florizel and Perdita in The Winter's Tale. Leclercq is wearing a dress tied with ribbon at the waist and flowers around her head, across her torso and wrapped around a shepherd's crook she is holding in one hand, with the curved top touching the floor. She is resting the other hand on Heath's shoulder. Heath is dressed as a classical shepherd in Phrygian (Eastern) costume, with a short tunic tied at the waist over loose trousers, with both garments embroidered with the same pattern to imitate buttons holding the fabric. She is also wearing a Phrygian cap and has a pan pipes hanging from a sash across her body. She is holding a shepherd's crook (pedum) in one hand while resting the other over Leclercq's one. They are both standing on a patterned carpet with a plain background behind them, apart from a door partially visible on one side.

Charles Kean's production of The Winter's Tale was performed at the Princess's Theatre in Oxford Street in 1856. Queen Victoria went to see the performance on four separate occasions. The casting of Caroline Heath in the male role of Florizel was unusual at this time; Kean further supported the casting of women in male roles with his production of The Tempest where a Miss Bufton played the part of Ferdinand. 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)

    Caroline Heath (1835-87)
    Carlotta Leclercq (1838-93)
  • 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
    • Arts, Recreation, Entertainment & Sport
      • Music
        • Musical instruments
          • Woodwind instruments
            • Flutes
              • Pan-pipes