The Queen’s Gallery – I

There is still time to see the two fascinating shows at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London SW1, until 22nd February 2015. Here is the first one.

 

Cairo to Constantinople: Early Photographs of the Middle East

The Prince of Wales and party among ruins in Karnak, Thebes, Egypt, March 1862 Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

The Prince of Wales and party among ruins in Karnak, Thebes, Egypt, March 1862
Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

A twenty-year old Prince of Wales, who would become Edward VII, set out on a four month tour of the Middle East in 1862 and this exhibition celebrates it. What makes the tour special is that the Prince was accompanied by the photographer Francis Bedford who took the series of images seen here and which made it the first royal tour to be recorded in this manner.

Portrait of Abd al-Qadir, May 1862 Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

Portrait of Abd al-Qadir, May 1862
Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

As the images reveal, the Prince did not travel in pomp or splendour but rather by horse and he slept in tents. He did however meet rulers, politicians and other notable figures as he progressed through Egypt, Palestine and the Holy Land, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Greece.
The main reason for Bedford’s inclusion with the royal party was to record sacred and historic landscapes, which he did with great skill. These images are remarkable and give a haunting sense of place and time.

Gold brooch set with ancient Egyptian scarab dating from 700BC.  Royal Collection Trust / (c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

Gold brooch set with ancient Egyptian scarab dating from 700BC.
Royal Collection Trust / (c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

The Prince kept a journal of his travels and this is on show as are antiquities that the Prince acquired along the way.

 

http://www.royalcollection.org.uk

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