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The Queen’s Albumc 1880

In 2018, this photograph album was identified as the original prototype of an album presented to Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle in 1882. On Friday 17 December 1880, the Sydney Morning Herald announced that a large album of photographs had been produced by the Government of NSW to be presented to Her Majesty the Queen on behalf of the people of the colony. Described as a ‘marvel of sumptuous binding’ in purple velvet, the cover was decorated with the royal monogram in richly chased silver, and its corners were protected by elaborate silver scroll work. Containing 56 ‘unusually large’ photographs depicting the choicest scenes of ‘city, harbour, mountain, river, and spreading plain’, it was created to give Her Majesty ‘a favourable idea of one of the greatest of her Colonial dependencies’.

Despite the hype and excitement surrounding its production, the Queen’s Album would not leave the colony for at least another year. In December 1881 the NSW Government Printer Thomas Richards finally received instructions to forward the album to the NSW Agent General Saul Samuel in London. The album – now with a ruby red velvet cover and eight additional photographs – was presented to Queen Victoria on 27 February 1882. The Queen recorded the event in her diary, noting that the album, ‘a present from the Colony, is very pretty’. Unfortunately, the current whereabouts of this album is unknown.

View the Queen's album