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A Pair of Royal Presentation Portraits the Prince & Princess of Wales, 1881
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A Pair of Royal Presentation Portraits the Prince & Princess of Wales, 1881

Measurements: each overall: 43cm (17in) x 31.5cm (12.5in)

£1850

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Full length portrait photograph of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) (1841-1910) in the uniform of Colonel-in-Chief of the Life Guards by Royal photographer Alexander Bassano. Contained in a bespoke stained pine frame with reeded ebony borders, the top applied in unmarked silver with the A E initials of Albert Edward, flanking the Garter and encircling the Prince of Wales feathers, and surmounted by the crown of the Heir Apparent. The base of the frame further applied with the date 1881. The silver easel back strut bearing the maker’s name P. & F. Schafer, 27 Piccadilly & 48 Cornhill. Together with a companion full length portrait, taken by Bassano in the Marlborough House conservatory in May 1881, of Alexandra, Princess of Wales wearing the Rundell tiara (actually made by Garrard), diamond choker and a diamond and pearl necklace, Royal Family Orders on her left shoulder, and the star of the Russian Order of St Catherine. Signed 'Alexandra' in the princess’s hand to the lower right of the image. Contained in a matching stained pine frame with reeded ebony borders, the top applied in unmarked silver with Alexandra’s conjoined double a cypher surmounted by a coronet of the Princess of Wales. The base of the frame further applied with the date 1881. The unmarked silver easel back strut bearing the maker’s name P. & F. Schafer, 27 Piccadilly & 48 Cornhill. Images each: 30cm (12in) x 17.5cm (7in).

Alexander Bassano (1829-1913) was the son of Italian immigrant who worked as an oilman and wharehouseman in Jermyn Street. Bassano junior received early artistic training with the artists Augustus Egg and William Beverley. Bassano opened his first photographic studio in 1850 in Regent Street. The studio then moved to Piccadilly (1859-1863), Pall Mall and then to 25 Old Bond Street in 1877. The studio at 25 Old Bond Street studio was decorated with plaster busts, and was large enough to accommodate an 80 foot panoramic background scene mounted on rollers, which provided a variety of outdoor scenes or court backgrounds. By the 1880s Bassano  was firmly established as the leading royal and society photographer. His royal sitters ranged from Queen Victoria to Cetshwayo kaMpande. However Bassano’s best known portrait is that of Lord Kitchener accompanied by the imperative Your Country Needs You.

 

 

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