Thursday, May 5, 2011

Object of the Day: An Antique Photograph of Prince Albert

Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (later The Prince Consort; Francis Albert Augustus Charles Emmanuel (1819-1861), is forever known as the beloved husband of Queen Victoria for whom she mourned until the end of her long life in 1901. After their 1840 marriage, Prince Albert was a vital part of the Royal Family and responsible for setting the tone for future generations of Royals who have followed his advise that the Royal Family should always maintain a position above politics. Aside from his role in running the Royal households, Prince Albert was a major contributor to the designs and fashion of the day and showed that he was a talented designer (especially of jewelry) in his own right. An avid sportsman and patron of the arts, Albert was tirelessly devoted to his family and ensuring their education and well-being.

This photograph is Albert dates between 1840 and 1850 and is actually French in origin, most likely sold as a souvenir. On the front mat, the words “Le Prince Albert” have been written in pencil. The same hand has written, “P-ce Albert” on the reverse. The back of the photo bears two stamps. One states it comes from the, “Maison Alph Giroux” and that “William et Cie” was the photographer. Maison Alphonse Giroux was a Parisian dealer of art ranging from sculptures to photographs.

Prince Albert showed a keen interest in photography and enjoyed collecting photos and working with photographers. Images similar to this one are still housed in The Royal Collection.

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