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Prince Albert: Patron of Early Photography by Helen Trompeteler

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This talk discusses the integral role that Prince Albert played in the advancement of photography. Alongside Queen Victoria, Prince Albert’s support for the new medium was a cultural and social catalyst – furthering opportunities for creativity, experimentation, and the exchange of photographic knowledge. During his lifetime, Prince Albert cultivated a collection of some 10,000 photographs by pioneering nineteenth-century photographers such as Frances Sally Day, Roger Fenton, Oscar Gustav Rejlander, Charles Thurston Thompson, and George Washington Wilson. The Royal Collection is relatively unique in that there is such strong primary material in the Royal Archives that illuminates our understanding of the development of the collection. Many of the photographs and documents presented in this talk are part of Prince Albert: His Life and Legacy ( This website will make available some 23,500 items from the Royal Collection, Royal Archives, and Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851. Helen Trompeteler is a curator and writer based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is a committed advocate for the civic role of special collections as catalysts for contemporary dialogue and cultural exchange. Helen has eighteen years of experience leading exhibitions and partnerships for internationally significant collections, including the Royal Collection (2016-20) and the National Portrait Gallery, London (2002-16). Further roles include board member of Four Corners (2017-present), the Museums Association Transformers leadership program (2018-2019), and the Josef Breitenbach Research Fellowship at the Center for Creative Photography (2016). Presented on September 11, 2021.

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The Daguerreian Society
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