New Publication from the Royal Collection

Release date: 
Monday, 23 August 2004

Developing the Picture: Queen Alexandra and the Art of Photography

By Frances Dimond                  
Published by Royal Collection Publications, 4 October 2004

Drawing on the unparalleled resources of the Royal Photograph Collection, the Royal Archives and Library, this book is the first ever to focus on Queen Alexandra's involvement with photography.  The consort of King Edward VII was the most celebrated royal photographer of her time; in 1910 The Amateur Photographer magazine commented that her great interest in photography and active use of cameras had probably done more than most photographers realised towards popularising their hobby and encouraging universal acceptance of the hand camera.  This handsome publication is illustrated with 180 of Queen Alexandra's photographs, most of which have never been published before. 

Queen Alexandra's photographic albums are unique personal diaries, providing a fascinating insight into the lives of the royal families of Europe from the 1880s to the First World War.  The Queen had shown artistic promise since childhood.  Photography was a natural progression from painting, and her photograph albums are often embellished with exquisite watercolour decoration and annotated with impromptu anecdotes.  With her camera she recorded her friends and family, and the places she visited on her extensive travels.  Her marine views show an instinctive skill in capturing the sea's changing moods and an enjoyment of contrasting tones and textures.

Queen Alexandra shared her interest with her husband, King Edward VII, who, like his parents, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, was a patron and collector of photography.  The royal couple also encouraged new developments, such as stereoscopic photography and films, and the Queen allowed a number of her own photographs to be displayed in Kodak exhibitions.  In 1908, 136 of her snapshots were published by The Daily Telegraph in Queen Alexandra's Christmas Gift Book.  Months before publication, 358,000 copies had been sold for the benefit of over 30 charities.

The author Frances Dimond has worked with the Royal Photograph Collection since 1970.  She has lectured and written widely on the Collection, and has curated several exhibitions on royal photography.

Publication details: Hardback, 290 x 230mm (portrait), 192 pages, over 160 colour illustrations, ISBN 1 902163 79 6,  Price £29.95

To coincide with the publication of the book, a display of Queen Alexandra's photographs will be shown at Windsor Castle from 9 October 2004 until 24 April 2005.

Further information is available from Public Relations and Marketing, the Royal Collection, telephone: 020 7839 1377, 
e-mail: press@royalcollection.org.uk