Mobile menu
Welcome back to the royal residences. Find out more about our measures to keep you safe.

Albert and Victoria’s collection shows photographers’ working methods

Mourning portraits

Following Prince Albert’s death in 1861, Queen Victoria’s inconsolable grief led her to retreat from public life. Photography and its dissemination allowed her likeness to be present despite her physical absence from public life. Family portraits from this period reached a winder public mainly through the popular and affordable format of the carte-de-visite, a photographic technique that enabled multiple portraits to be taken using a single glass plate negative. The compositions often included busts or pictures of Prince Albert, utilised as compositional devices to emphasise his continued influence. Many of the corresponding negatives from these mourning sittings are shown below, including a carte-de-visite plate featuring eight portraits of the queen with her Lady of the Bedchamber gazing at a framed photograph of Prince Albert.

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Group photograph with bust of Prince Albert

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Family portrait with bust of Prince Albert

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Group photograph with bust of Prince Albert

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Family portrait with bust of Prince Albert

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Group photograph with bust of Prince Albert

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Group photograph with bust of Prince Albert

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

Queen Victoria and Princess Alice with a bust of Prince Albert

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

Queen Victoria and Princess Alice with a bust Prince Albert

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

Queen Victoria and Princess Alice with bust of Prince Albert

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

Queen Victoria and Princess Alice with bust of Prince Albert

William Bambridge (1810-79)

The royal children in mourning

William Bambridge (1810-79)

The royal children in mourning

William Bambridge (1810-79)

The royal children in mourning

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

Queen Victoria and the Countess of Caledon