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Placing Osborne in the History of Early Photography

Osborne was an important setting for early royal photography

Inspiring Future Generations

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert encouraged their children to learn photography, and Dr Ernst Becker, Albert’s librarian, taught the royal children practical skills in the medium. Several albums created by the royal children show that for them, Osborne was a place of creativity where experimentation in early photography was relished. For example, Princess Helena’s album contains views of various historic sites. A recently catalogued and digitised album of photographs compiled by Prince Alfred, between c.1860–65, contains a range of landscape views of Osborne. 

Princess Beatrice, her mother’s faithful companion, remained at Osborne after her marriage. The Durbar Wing, built partly to provide the Princess and her family with a private apartment, later included a darkroom in the ground floor. Thankfully, due to Victoria and Albert’s visionary patronage, for their children, photography was an integral means to record, document and experience the world around them – with Osborne and its surroundings maintaining a central role in their appreciation of the medium.