Read the introduction page for background on this workshop series.
As you will have begun to sense from his speeches, in which frequent mention is made of 'Arts & Science', Prince Albert took a rich interest in the development, cross-pollination and integration of these fields. This interest can be felt very strongly in his engagement with the then-nascent discipline of photography, which had application in scientific examination, in artistic creation, in the sharing of knowledge, and in the visual recording of things.
As an active patron of photography, alongside his wife, Queen Victoria, Prince Albert played a significant part in its development. In 1842, Prince Albert was photographed by William Constable in his Brighton studio. The resulting daguerreotype is the earliest surviving photograph of a member of the British royal family. Beyond the stimulus provided by Albert’s own diverse collecting activities, the royal couple were joint patrons of the (later Royal) Photographic Society, soon after its foundation in 1853. Albert’s prolific collecting throughout the 1850s was aided by Dr Ernst Becker, the Prince’s Librarian and private secretary. Later tutor to Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (1841-1910), and Prince Alfred (1844-1900), Becker also taught the royal children photography.
Prince Albert: His Life and Legacy encompasses the Prince's taste for and activity in the diverse aspects of photography as well as providing a unique access point to over eight thousand photographs by pioneering nineteenth-century photographers. Spend a little time perusing the collection, and getting a sense of how this emerging form and its different aspects must have excited contemporary viewers and practitioners, Prince Albert and Queen Victoria amongst them.