Roger Fenton & Julia Margaret Cameron: Early British Photographs from the Royal Collection
â€˜Clinton Parry Esqreâ€™, 1868. Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879) Albumen print purchased by Queen Victoria, Royal Collection Â© 2011 HM Queen Elizabeth II
Photographs by two of Britain’s most accomplished photographers of the nineteenth century: Roger Fenton (1819-69) and Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-79). Some were commissioned by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, others purchased directly from the photographer. Together they demonstrate the royal couple’s involvement in the early photographic world.
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were enthusiastic patrons of photography. Between 1842, when the first photograph was taken of a member of the royal family and 1861 when Prince Albert died, the couple amassed a collection of works by the leading photographers of the day. After Prince Albert’s death, Queen Victoria continued collecting. By the time of her death in 1901 the collection was estimated at 20,000 photographs.
Victoria and Albert’s patronage helped foster this new art form. They attended exhibitions, became patrons of the newly established Photographic Society of London, commissioned portraits and purchased the work of British photographers. Queen Victoria preferred portraits, while Prince Albert acquired topographical views and fine art photographs.
The exhibition is accompanied by a book by Sophie Gordon, Roger Fenton & Julia Margaret Cameron: Early British Photographs from the Royal Collection.
The exhibition has been generously lent by HM The Queen from the Royal Collection.
When RAMM hosted the Fenton & Cameron exhibition the portraits of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert taken in 1860 by John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1910) were hung the opposite way round to convention. That is, instead of the monarch being placed to the left and the consort to the right, we asked permission from the Royal Collection to hang the Prince to the left, with the Queen to the right. This was in part to acknowledge RAMM’s origins, as a memorial to Albert founded opened in 1868 which was granted Royal status in 1899. It also meant that on this occasion the Royal couple could look towards - instead of away from - each other.
Martin Thomas, Freelance exhibitions officer
15 December 2011 to 1 April 2012
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