Travelling Exhibition: Early British Photographs from the Royal Collection

Roger Fenton, 'Princes Helena and Princess Louise, Balmoral' (1856)

Blackwell: The Arts and Crafts House, Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria, 31 January – 27 April 2011

This Royal Collection travelling exhibition contains works from the Royal Collection by two of Britain’s most accomplished photographers of the nineteenth century: Roger Fenton (1819-69) and Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-79).

Some of the work was commissioned by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert; some photographs were purchased through a dealer, while others directly from the photographer. These photographs demonstrate the royal couple’s involvement in the early photographic world.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were enthusiastic patrons of photography. Between March 1842, when the first photograph was taken of a member of the royal family, and December 1861, when Prince Albert died, the royal couple amassed a collection of works by most of the leading photographers of the day. After Prince Albert’s death, Queen Victoria continued collecting. At the time of the Queen’s death in January 1901, the collection was an estimated 20,000 photographs.

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