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Prince Albert was an early adopter of portrait photography

Royal Household portraits

In 1852, Theodore Brunell (1822-61) was commissioned by Prince Albert and Queen Victoria to photograph royal household staff at Windsor. The resulting daguerreotype is a remarkably early photograph of staff at the castle, at a time when photography was still in its relative infancy and a costly pursuit. The photograph indicates the high regard the family held for their staff.

Seven years later, in 1859, Prince Albert began compiling a series of albums entitled ‘Royal Household Portraits’. In each album, care has been taken to caption each photograph with the sitter’s name. The albums serve as an important, visual record of the individuals employed by the Royal Household during Prince Albert’s lifetime. This includes a number of staff members who were significant to Prince Albert, including Dr Ernst Becker (1826-88), Carl Ruland (1834-1907) and Baron Stockmar (1787-1863).

Portraits of royal household staff regularly appear in a variety of albums, including albums compiled by the royal children.