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Albert and Victoria’s collection shows photographers’ working methods

After Raphael (Urbino 1483-Rome 1520)

‘The Small Cowper Madonna’ 1853

RCIN 2084289

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Glass plate negative of Raphael's so-called Small Cowper Madonna (c.1505-06). The painting shows the seated figure of the Virgin supporting with her left hand the Christ Child who is standing on her lap throwing his arms round her neck.

A letter in the Royal Archives from Ernst Becker (Prince Albert's librarian who led the Raphael Collection project between 1851 and 1860) to the art historian Gustav Friedrich Waagen (RA VIC/ADDA/10/85/333, dated 23 July 1853) states that Becker sent Waagen a print of Mr Fenton's picture of Lord Cowper's Madonna. Earl Cowper, Penshanger, who at the time owned the work, had given permission for it to be photographed for Prince Albert in March 1853. The painting is now in the National Gallery, Washington DC (inv. no.1942.9.57). 

The glass plate negative has been photographed showing the coated side and therefore the image appears laterally reversed. Prints from this negative exists in the Collection, (e.g. RCIN 2905894, 850692 and 850693)
  • Creator(s)

    After Raphael (Urbino 1483-Rome 1520) (artist)

    Caldesi & Montecchi (active 1857-67) (photographer)

    Attributed to Roger Fenton (1819-69) (photographer)

  • Acquired by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert

  • Object type(s)
      • visual works
        • photographs
          • negatives
            • glass plate negatives
    Subject(s)
    • Religion & Theology
      • Religions and faiths
        • Christianity
          • Devotional Images of Christ
            • Virgin & Child