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Albert and Victoria’s collection shows photographers’ working methods

After Sir William Ross (1794-1860)

'Victoire, duchesse de Nemours (1822-1857)' 1851c. 1861

RCIN 2082369

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Glass plate negative of a portrait miniature of Queen Victoria's cousin Victoire, duchesse de Nemours, created in 1840 (RCIN 420921). 

This miniature by Sir William Ross was the source of great comfort to Queen Victoria after the premature death of her cousin in 1857, when she wrote: 'Also looked at Ross's lovely miniature of dearest Victoire, done when she was here in 40, & which is so like' (RA QVJ: 16 November 1857). It had been painted during the visit to England of the duc and duchesse de Nemours from 14 to 28 July 1840 when Queen Victoria reported her cousin 'in such beauty' (RA QVJ: 14 July 1840). The sittings took place on 20 and 23 July when Queen Victoria: 'Went to see dear Vic sitting to Ross. The miniature, which is only a head & shoulders, is finished & quite perfection' (RA QVJ: 23 July 1840). It relates closely, however, to a watercolour that had been painted during an earlier visit in August–September 1839 before her marriage (913766; Royal Collection). Queen Victoria had described her in glowing terms during that visit: 'Victoire – quite lovely, tall and slender, a skin like lilies and roses, hazel eyes, with beautiful fair hair; an aquiline nose and a very sweet mouth – not shy or awkward' (RA QVJ: 3 June 1839). It was at this period that the Queen and Princess Victoire established an enduring friendship that was to make London the natural refuge for the entire Orléans family after the 1848 Revolution.

The negative has been masked out, indicating the photographer's intention to crop the work to its edge.

The glass plate negative has been photographed showing the coated side and therefore the image appears laterally reversed. Prints from this negative do not seem to exist in the Collection.

  • Creator(s)

    After Sir William Ross (1794-1860) (artist)

    Unknown Person (photographer)

    Subject(s)
    Victoria, Princess of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, and Duchess of Nemours (1822-57)
  • Acquired by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert

  • Object type(s)
      • visual works
        • photographs
          • negatives
            • glass plate negatives