Queen Victorias Wedding 10th of February 1840

Queen Victoria first met her German cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, in 1836, and they became engaged during his second visit to England in 1839. Their wedding ceremony took place on 10 February 1840 at the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace.

Queen Victoria chose to marry Prince Albert in a white silk satin gown featuring Honiton lace, an unusual color choice for bridal gowns at the time; she started the white wedding gown tradition that remains today. On her wedding morning, Queen Victoria wrote in her journal:

Dressed….I wore a white satin gown with a very deep flounce of Honiton, imitation of old. I wore my Turkish diamond necklace and earrings, and Albert’s beautiful sapphire brooch.

She also wore a wreath of orange blossoms (symbolising purity) and myrtle (symbolising love and domestic happiness), and these became the most common flowers carried and worn in Victorian weddings.

Their wedding day itself was inauspicious, a heavy rain falling; but immense multitudes assembled to gaze upon the processions. The bridal procession from Buckingham Palace to St. James’s begun to move through the triumphal arch at 12 o’clock. It was the first wedding of a reigning Queen in England since 1554.

Queen Victoria spent the evening after her wedding lying down with a headache, but wrote ecstatically in her diary:

I NEVER, NEVER spent such an evening!!! MY DEAREST DEAREST DEAR Albert … his excessive love & affection gave me feelings of heavenly love & happiness I never could have hoped to have felt before! He clasped me in his arms, & we kissed each other again & again! His beauty, his sweetness & gentleness – really how can I ever be thankful enough to have such a Husband! … to be called by names of tenderness, I have never yet heard used to me before – was bliss beyond belief! Oh! This was the happiest day of my life!

Her marriage to Prince Albert brought nine children between 1840 and 1857. Most of her children married into other Royal families of Europe.

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Queen Victoria and Prince Albert on their return from the marriage service at St James’s Palace, London, 10th February 1840. Engraved by S Reynolds after F Lock via

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A middle aged Victoria and Albert recreate their wedding day via

Impressive Pioneer Photography by Hill & Adamson (1843 – 1848)

In 1843 artist David Octavius Hill joined engineer Robert Adamson in partnership at Rock House on Calton Hill, Edinburgh, Scotland.

During their brief four year partnership, between 1843-1848, Hill & Adamson produced the first substantial body of self-consciously artistic work using the newly invented medium of photography.

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David Octavius Hill, Hill & Adamson (Scottish, active 1843 – 1848), 1843 via

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Miss Matilda Rigby, Hill & Adamson (Scottish, active 1843 – 1848) via

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The bird-cage, Hill & Adamson (Scottish, active 1843 – 1848)  via

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A Discussion,  Hill & Adamson (Scottish, active 1843 – 1848), via

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The Letter, Hill & Adamson (Scottish, active 1843 – 1848) via

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Mr Laing or Laine, Hill & Adamson (Scottish, active 1843 – 1848) via

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Piper and Drummer of the 92nd Gordon Highlanders, Edinburgh Castle, Hill & Adamson (Scottish, active 1843 – 1848) via

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The Scott Monument,  Hill & Adamson (Scottish, active 1843 – 1848), about 1845 via

A Collection of Vintage Photos featuring the Countess de Castiglione (La Divine Comtesse)

Virginia Oldoini, Countess of Castiglione (1837 – 1899), better known as La Castiglione, was an Italian aristocrat who was a special agent for the cause of Italian unification, the mistress of Napoleon III, and a mysterious recluse notorious for her numerous love affairs. She was born to a noble Florentine family and at 17 she married the Count di Castiglione. It was a bad match; she cheated on him shamelessly and eventually left him bankrupt. In 1857 they separated. She left Paris in 1858, due to the scandal surrounding her liaison with Napoléon III.

Before that, while still living in Paris, the Countess had created a sensation. The beautiful statuesque countess was both decadent and extravagant. Lavish balls where prevalent during the period and she became known for her flamboyant entrances in elaborate dress at the imperial court. One of her most infamous outfits was a “Queen of Hearts” costume. She was even considered the most beautiful woman of her time and was described as having long, wavy blonde hair, pale skin, a delicate oval face, and eyes that constantly changed colour from green to an extraordinary blue-violet. Her vanity was as famous as her beauty and she would send albums of her portraits to friends and admirers.

In 1865 she arrived in Paris again, to plead for Italian unity on behalf of her cousin, then a minister to the king of Sardinia. After the fall of the Second Empire in 1870, Oldoini led an increasingly secluded existence, which gave rise to fantastic speculation as to her affairs. Her declining years were spent in an apartment in the Place Vendôme, where she had the rooms decorated in funereal black, the blinds kept drawn, and mirrors banished—apparently so she would not have to confront her advancing age and loss of beauty. She would only leave the apartment at night.

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The Countess´s raging narcissism found in photography the perfect ally, and she was a significant figure in the early history of photography.

In 1856 she began sitting for the firm Mayer and Pierson, photographers favored by the imperial court. Over the next four decades she directed Pierre-Louis Pierson to help her create 700 different photographs in which she re-created the signature moments of her life for the camera. She spent a large part of her personal fortune and even went into debt to execute the project. Most of the photographs depict the Countess in her theatrical outfits, such as the Queen of Hearts dress. Many of the portraits record the countess’s triumphant moments in Parisian society, wearing the extravagant gowns and costumes in which she appeared at soirées and masked balls, in others she assumes roles drawn from the theater, opera, literature, and her own imagination.

A number of photographs depict her in poses risqué for the era—notably, images that expose her bare legs and feet. In these photos, her head is cropped out.

Robert de Montesquiou, a Symbolist poet, dandy, and avid art collector, was fascinated by the Countess. He spent thirteen years writing a biography, La Divine Comtesse, which appeared in 1913. After her death, he collected 433 of her photographs, all of which entered the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Scherzo di Follia

Scherzo di Follia by Pierre-Louis Pierson 1863–66, printed 1940s

[The Opera Ball]

The Opera Ball by Pierre-Louis Pierson,1861–67, printed 1895–1910

Sunday by Pierre Louis Pierson, 1860s

[Countess de Castiglione as Elvira at the Cheval Glass]

Countess de Castiglione as Elvira at the Cheval Glass by Pierre-Louis Pierson,1861–67

La Marquise Mathilde

La Marquise Mathilde by Pierre-Louis Pierson, 1861–66

Vintage Portraits of the Infamous Dancer Lola Montez (1821 – 1861)

Lola Montez or Marie Dolores Eliza Rosanna Gilbert, Countess of Landsfeld,  was an Irish courtesan, actress and dancer. Her year of her birth is disputed, as are many aspects of her life. She famously wrote her own biography creating a completely fictional and self-indulgent fantasy of her life.

She launched herself on the London stage as ‘Lola Montez, the famous Spanish Dancer’ despite not being Spanish or even a dancer! Within years she had toured Europe with her scandalous dancing.

Her friends, lovers, and clients included Franz List, Alexandre Dumas and King Ludwig I.

In 1851, she came to the United States and in San Francisco, first performed her notorious “Spider Dance”—in which she pretended to be bitten by a spider, flailing and wiggling in a way calculated to induce maximum lust in the mostly male audience

King Ludwig I of Bavaria made her Countess of Landsfeld. She used her influence to institute liberal reforms. At the start of the Revolutions of 1848 in the German states, she was forced to flee. She proceeded to the United States via Switzerland, France and London, returning to her work as an entertainer and lecturer.

In 1858, she published The Arts of Beauty: or, Secrets of a Lady’s Toilet, full of her own thoughts and advice. One excerpt read as follows:

Without a fine head of hair no woman can be really beautiful. A combination of perfect features, united in one person, would all go for naught without that crowning excellence of beautiful hair. Take the handsomest woman that ever lived—one with the finest eyes, a perfect nose, an expanded forehead, a charming face, and a pair of lips that beat the ripest and reddest cherries of summer—and shave her head, and what a fright would she be! The dogs would bark at, and run from her in the street.

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Lola Montez

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Lola Montez, Daguerreotype by Southworth & Hawes, 1851 via

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Lola Montez, 1851 via

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Lola Montez, painted by Joseph Karl Stieler for Ludwig I of Bavaria and his Schönheitengalerie, 1847 via

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Nicolas Toussaint Charlet´s portrait of Lola Montez via

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Lola Montez via

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Lola Montez  via

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Spider Dance via

The Most Brilliant Victorian Wedding Gowns

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 Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in 1840; this is a middle aged Victoria and Albert who recreate their wedding day. Queen Victoria chose to marry in a white silk satin gown featuring Honiton lace, an unusual color choice for bridal gowns at the time; she started the white wedding gown tradition that remains today.

1858 photo of Princess Royal Victoria's wedding dress. She was the oldest daughter of Queen Victoria.

1858 photo of princess royal victorias wedding dress. She was the oldest daughter of queen Victoria. She married Frederick, Crown Prince of Germany and Prussia later Frederick III, German Emperor and King of Prussia (1831–1888); 4 sons, 4 daughters (including Wilhelm II, German Emperor and King of Prussia and Sophia, Queen of Greece)

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1863 Princess Alexandra Of Denmark, later Queen of the United Kingdom and Empress of India as the wife of King-Emperor Edward VII.

Princess Louise (1848-1939) in her wedding dress | Royal Collection Trust

Princess Louise (1848-1939) in her wedding dress. Married 1871, John Douglas Sutherland Campbell (1845–1914), Marquess of Lorne, later 9th Duke of Argyll.

Princess Helena (1846-1923) in her wedding dress | Royal Collection Trust

Princess Helena (1846-1923) in her wedding dress. Married 1866, Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein (1831–1917); 4 sons (1 still-born), 2 daughters.

Princess Beatrice

1885 Princess Beatrice, the fifth daughter and youngest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Married 1885, Prince Henry of Battenberg (1858–1896); 3 sons, 1 daughter (Victoria Eugenie, Queen of Spain).

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Victoria of Baden. She married in Karlsruhe on 20 September 1881 Crown Prince Gustaf of Sweden and Norway, the son of King Oscar II of Sweden and Norway and Sofia of Nassau.

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Annie Chinery. The daughter of Dr Edward Chinery from Lymington, married the photographer Julia Cameron’s son Ewen in 1869

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Bride from the 1850s

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American bride

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Baroness Christine von Linden (1879-1969). She married diplomat and adventurer Cecil Gosling  (1870-1943) on the 13th of May 1898. They married in London. She was the only daughter of Baron Adhémar Rudolph Caesar Conradin von Linden from Germany and Helene Euphrosyne Casavetti from London.

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Bride getting dressed, 1890s