Friday, October 8, 2010

Antique Image of the Day: "Group at Gloucester House," 1856

Group at Gloucester House
Antoine Claudet, 1856
The Royal Collection
On June 30, 1856, Queen Victoria traveled with two of her children: Bertie (Prince Albert Edward, later King Edward VII) and Alice to Gloucester House to visit the Duchess of Gloucester.  The Duchess—the last surviving child of King George III—was in ill health and died the following year.  During their visit, photographer Antoine Claudet asked to daguerreotype the group.  The Queen gave her consent and Claudet took several images which he later hand-colored.  He was so pleased to have had the opportunity that, with the Queen’s permission, he posted a notice in the Court Circular stating his excitement. 
This image shows Queen Victoria (center) flanked by the Duchess on the right, Prince Albert Edward on the left and Alice in front.  That evening, the Queen noted in her journal that she, “went in the afternoon to Gloucester House & was daguerreotyped with dear Aunt Gloucester, Bertie & Alice, several times.”  We’re quite fortunate that Queen Victoria kept such a careful diary of her daily activities.  Such a thing helps us to realize that even our most trivial actions might one day be interesting to someone.

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