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Prince Albert, the Prince Consort
1861, 3 July
Carte de visite
Silvy photographed several members of the British royal family, but the most senior member who ever sat for him was the Prince Consort. Although he kept a room prepared especially for the Queen, she never visited his studio.
The following is an extract from Nadar's Quand j'étais photographe (1900) in which Nadar discusses his contemporaries:
'Each visitor had to pass by this room. Its double doors were open, although a tall, beautiful gate of sixteenth-century Florentine wrought ironwork barred entrance to the profane. On the central mantelpiece stood an equestrian statuette in pure silver for which Silvy had paid thirty thousand francs, an impressive sum in those days, to Marochetti, a much favoured sculptor of the time - THE QUEEN!!!...On seeing this, every true Englishman or woman would bow the head in respectful silence, hardly daring to assuage with the merest side-glance that terrible, I do not dare say brutish, requirement of objective curiosity which is one of their natural characteristics.
'No one was to enter the room - except the QUEEN, and no one did enter it: "Not even the Queen" said Silvy, laughing, "because I'm still waiting for her...But never mind, it makes a good impression!" '