Commemorating 200 years since the birth of Queen Victoria, a NSW State Archives exhibition The Queen’s Album will launch today (28 May) at Government House in Sydney, piecing together 64 photographs that featured in a missing 1882 album gifted to the 63-year-old monarch on behalf of the NSW Colony.
Using original glass plate negatives from the NSW State Archives Collection, the exhibition reimagines a moment in history from nearly 140 years ago when Sir Henry Parks, Premier and Colonial Secretary of NSW, had an idea of presenting an album to the Queen that would showcase NSW and ‘display its loyalty to the reigning monarch’.
NSW State Archives Senior Exhibitions Curator Dr Penny Stannard said that the new exhibition has reignited efforts to find the missing album, curated by the Government of the time, in a mystery that the public is being called on to solve.
“Our search for this exquisitely presented collection of 19th century photographs presented to Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle in February 1882 has spanned cultural collections in Australia and overseas to no avail, so now we’re turning to the public to help locate it.
“Initial research by the NSW State Archives has revealed a detailed design information document and a prototype album, however the final album, which was extended with eight new photographs, has been deemed by the Royal Collection Trust as ‘now untraced’,” Dr Stannard said.
NSW State Archives Executive Director Adam Lindsay said, “As a monarch so influential that she gave her name to an era, it’s no surprise that tales from Queen Victoria’s reign are enjoying a resurgence in popularity around the globe. To mark the 200th anniversary of her birth, we are delighted to share our uniquely Australian insight into the period with the people of NSW and beyond.
“This valuable selection of photographs, rediscovered, reproduced and now digitised from the NSW State Archives Collection of over 13 million cultural items provides a fascinating window into the NSW Colony at the time. We’re excited to be able to involve the public as we try to solve this mystery once and for all,” Mr Lindsay said.
The Queen’s Album exhibition is open to the public at Government House, Sydney from 24 May to 16 June 2019. For all the details please visit https://www.records.nsw.gov.au/archives/exhibitions/the-queens-album
Photo: Picton Viaduct over Stonequarry Creek 1870
Media release and photo are courtesy of Create NSW.