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Prince Albert used photography to document exhibitions and works of art

Photographs of Works of Art

From the mid-1850s onwards, Queen Victoria (1819-1901) and Prince Albert (1819-61) used photography to document their art collections. Consequently, photographs of works of art and decorative objects regularly appear in personal albums alongside family portraits and genre studies, and in especially commissioned inventory albums. The royal couple regularly commissioned Charles Thurston Thompson (1816-68), who was the official photographer for the South Kensington Museum in London from 1857-1867. Thompson also photographed works for Prince Albert’s Raphael Collection, an ambitious project that from 1853 onwards aimed to record every work regarding in the mid-nineteenth century as being by, or after Raphael. An album of photographs dating from 1855-1865 document the works of art in the rooms of Prince Albert, offering us insights into his aesthetic tastes as a collector, and an understanding of the personal inspirations he sought to surround himself with at home.

John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901)

The Prince Consort's Rooms

Sir John Charles Robinson (1824-1913)

Catalogue of the Soulages collection

Charles Thurston Thompson (1816-68)

Musée du Louvre [v.2]: enamels

Robert Jefferson Bingham (1825-70)

Raphael's drawings in the Museum at Lille