Maker: John Jabez Mayall (1813-1901)
Medium: albumen print
Size: 2.25" x 4"
Object No. 2021.723
Notes: Princess Alice of the United Kingdom VA CI (Alice Maud Mary; 25 April 1843 – 14 December 1878; later Princess Louis of Hesse and Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine) was the third child and second daughter of Queen Victoria and Albert, Prince Consort. Alice was the first of Queen Victoria’s nine children to die, and one of three to be outlived by their mother, who died in 1901. Alice spent her early childhood in the company of her parents and siblings, travelling between the British royal residences. Her education was devised by Albert’s close friend and adviser, Baron Stockmar, and included practical activities such as needlework and woodwork as well as French and German. When her father, Prince Albert, was diagnosed with typhoid fever in December 1861, Alice nursed him until his death on 14 December that year. Following his death, Queen Victoria entered a period of intense mourning and Alice spent the next six months acting as her mother’s unofficial secretary. On 1 July 1862, while the court was still at the height of mourning, Alice married the minor German Prince Louis of Hesse, heir to the Grand Duchy of Hesse. The ceremony—conducted privately and with unrelieved gloom at Osborne House—was described by the Queen as "more of a funeral than a wedding". The Princess’s life in Darmstadt was unhappy as a result of impoverishment, family tragedy, and worsening relations with her husband and mother. Alice was a prolific patron of women’s causes and showed an interest in nursing, especially the work of Florence Nightingale. When Hesse became involved in the Austro-Prussian War, Darmstadt filled with the injured; the heavily pregnant Alice devoted much of her time to the management of field hospitals. One of her organisations, the Princess Alice Women’s Guild, took over much of the day-to-day running of the state’s military hospitals. As a result of this activity, Queen Victoria became concerned about Alice’s directness about medical and, in particular, gynaecological, matters. In 1871, she wrote to Alice’s younger sister, Princess Louise, who had recently married: "Don’t let Alice pump you. Be very silent and cautious about your ‘interior’". In 1877, Alice became Grand Duchess upon the accession of her husband; her increased duties putting further strains on her health. In the latter months of 1878, diphtheria infected the Hessian court. Alice nursed her family for over a month before falling ill herself.
Princess Alice was the mother of Tsaritsa Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia (empress consort of Tsar Nicholas II), maternal grandmother of Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, the last Viceroy of India, and maternal great-grandmother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, consort of Queen Elizabeth II. Another daughter, Elisabeth, who had married Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia, was, like the tsaritsa and her family, killed by the Bolsheviks in 1918.
Mayall was born Jabez Meal in Oldham near Lancashire in 1813 . After serving as the proprietor of a daguerreotype studio and a chemistry lecturer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, John Jabez Edwin Mayall relocated to London in 1846. In April 1847 Mayall opened the American Daguerreotype Institution in London at 433 West Strand, explicitly naming it American because American daguerreotypes were known for greater clarity and polish and were of a larger size. He opened a second studio in 1852 at 224 Regent Street, and maintained both studios for between two and three years, selling his Strand studio to his assistant Jabez Hughes in 1855. Mayall became renowned as a portraitist; within his first three years in England, he photographed Sir John Herschel, Sir David Brewster, and Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre. At the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, held in the Crystal Palace in 1851, he introduced a technique he had perfected: the popular vignetted portrait, in which the sitter’s head appears in focus while the surroundings gradually become less distinct. In 1855 Mayall sold the American Daguerreotype Institution and began to mass produce cartes-de-visite, small, calling-card-size photographs that were inexpensive to make, easily exchanged, and extremely popular. In 1860 Mayall published a carte-de-visite album of the British Royal Family; he reportedly sold 60,000 sets of these photographs. (source: Getty Museum)
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