In 1840 Queen Victoria married Prince Albert who was a great supporter of new technologies. They became two great lovers of photography and they both learnt the process of making daguerreotypes and collected some examples of photography. The couple began to commission portrait of the royal family giving work to local photographers.
Victoria and Albert publicly announced their patronage of the Photographic Society of London and made it possible to attend photography exhibitions, including the Great Exhibition in 1851 that took place at Crystal Palace.
In a portrait of the Queen taken in 1852, Victoria found the aspect of the children’s faces acceptable, but her own appearance was horrid. She disliked the portrait so much that she scratched out her face on the negative. She was much more calculated in the following portraits, aware of the position of her body and the expression on her face. While Prince Albert was alive, she used photography to pay tribute to their passionate love for one another.
When she became older, Victoria’s use of photography became strategic. Her famous Diamond Jubilee portrait appeared on everything, from tea towels to biscuit tins, and became the most lasting image of her.
Victoria’s private passion for photography increased throughout her lifetime. After Albert’s death, she continued to add photo to the royal collection, buying photographs by influential photographers as Oscar Rejilander, William Henry Fox Talbot, Gustave Le Grey and Julia Margaret Cameron. Before passing away, Victoria left a list detailing the objects that were to be buried with her in her coffin. Among the objects, there were photographs.