News, Culture & Society

Duchess of Cambridge visits National portrait Gallery

The Duchess of Cambridge was this evening treated to a sneak preview of an exhibition she helped curate at the National Portrait Gallery. 

The Duchess, who has been the gallery’s patron since 2012, is visiting the exhibition Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography ahead of its opening to the public tomorrow.  

Kate was asked to select images from the exhibition to write captions form in order to form the first Patron’s Trail, and has also written a foreword to the catalogue. 

The show will display portraits by Oscar Rejlander, Lewis Carroll, Julia Margaret Cameron and Lady Clementina Hawarden, together for the first time.

It’s been a busy day for the Duchess who earlier attended her first official engagement with her future sister-in-law Meghan Markle, at the launch of the Royal Foundation Forum.  

The Duchess of Cambridge put on a glamorous display in spite of the snowy weather as she arrived to visit the Victorian Giants:The Birth of Art Photography exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London

The Duchess was seen brushing the snow away from her hair as she made her way from the car into the exhibition 

The Duchess was seen brushing the snow away from her hair as she made her way from the car into the exhibition 

Ahead of this evening’s visit, the gallery said: ‘This is the first exhibition at the gallery to include a Patron’s trail, in which the Duchess will select a number of portraits which will be displayed with additional information labels that will be written by Her Royal Highness.’

In a foreword for the exhibition catalogue, Kate wrote: ‘As a Patron of the National Gallery, and an enthusiastic amateur photographer, I am delighted to support Victorian Giants.

‘This captivating book and the accompanying exhibition bring together works by Julia Margaret Cameron, Lewis Carroll, Oscar Rejlander and Clementina Hawarden for the first time, to explore the birth of art photography in England.

‘This period in the history has long interested me. As a student at the University of St. Andrews, I chose it as the subject of my undergraduate thesis and photographs of children in particular, which feature predominantly in the exhibition, are of real interest to me.

The Duchess put on a cheerful display as she was welcomed to unveil the Patron's Trail at the National Portrait Gallery 

The Duchess put on a cheerful display as she was welcomed to unveil the Patron’s Trail at the National Portrait Gallery 

‘These photographs allow us to reflect on the importance of preserving and appreciating childhood while it lasts.

‘Children held a special place int he Victorian imagination and were celebrated for their seemingly boundless potential.

‘This notion still rings true for us today and it underpins much of my official work and the charities I have chosen to support and, indeed my role as the mother of a young family.

‘Queen Victoria, and especially Prince Albert, became enthusiastic patrons of the new form of picture-making following its invention in 1839.

‘Rejlander undertook commissions for the Royal Family, and this exhibition contains photographs by him, borrowed from the Royal Collection at Windsor.

‘Victoria Giants affords us another opportunity to celebrate the National Portrait Gallery’s unique and brilliant programme of researcgh, acquisition and display.’ 



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