Large Format Signed Albumen Photograph - c1890
Scarce large format, unmounted albumen print of Her Royal Majesty Alexandrina Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Empress of India. Photograph taken by W. & D. Downey, London, among Victoria's favorite photographers. The Queen is shown here full length, seated and facing three-quarters left, wearing a black mourning gown while holding a fan in her right hand. The date is unknown but likely circa 1890. Downey's regal portrait reveals a stern Queen Empress, Sovereign of a vast Empire. Measures 12" x 10" (30cm x 25cm). Large, bold original signature in black fountain pen measures an astonishing 3½", with "RI" (Latin abbreviation for Regina Imperatrix, or "Queen Empress") appended at the end. In excellent condition, with very light toning, small chips on right and bottom edges, half-inch tear to lower right edge, and slight rippling, else fine, especially notable for its age. Deep pen impression visible on reverse.
Brothers William & Daniel Downey started their company in 1863, opening their first branch in Newcastle. In 1872 William moved to London to open a studio, while his brother continued to manage the Newcastle branch. Among Queen Victoria's favorite photographers, the firm photographed the Queen at Balmoral Castle in Scotland and Frogmore Gardens (adjoining Windsor Castle) throughout the late 1860s.