© National Portrait Gallery, London
King Edward VII when Prince of Wales as Grand Prior of the order of St John of Jerusalem
by Lafayette (Lafayette Ltd) Click on the links below to find out more
contact print on gold-toned printing-out paper, 2 July 1897
13 7/8 in. x 11 in. (353 mm x 279 mm) overall
acquired Victoria & Albert Museum, 1998
- King Edward VII (1841-1910), Reigned 1901-10. Sitter associated with 497 portraits.
After Prince Albert's death in 1861, the mourning queen absented herself from fancy dress events. The Prince of Wales and his wife presided in her place. In 1897, the Devonshire House Ball was staged to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee. Now motivated more by amusement than antiquarian concerns, the participants still endeavoured to ensure the authenticity of their dress. This photograph, taken for an album recording the guests' appearance, reveals the Prince of Wales in a striking outfit hired from the London costumiers, L. & H. Nathan. Earlier, in 1879, he had commissioned the French artist, Jules Bastien-Lepage to depict him in Tudor dress.
Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee is marked by a series of celebratory events, and attended by eleven colonial prime ministers following the Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain's proposal that the Jubilee be made a festival of the British Empire. The Workmen's Compensation Act gives workmen a right to a limited compensation in every case of injury by accident arising from the course of employment; it is a landmark piece of legislation in employment law.
Art and science
Bram Stoker's Dracula
is first published.Henry Tate of the Tate and Lyle sugar company donates his art collection to the nation, buying land and building a gallery space for it (now Tate Britain).Physician and psychologist Havelock Ellis publishes the first volume of his Studies in the Psychology of Sex
, and the English physicist John Thompson discovers the existence of the electron.
The burning of Benin city by Britain takes place, known also as the Punitive Exhibition of 1897. The excursion, led by Admiral Sir Harry Rawson, was a response to an attack by Benin warriors on a British delegation sent to settle a dispute over customs duties collected by British traders. During the expedition the British Admiralty destroyed much of the city's treasured art, including the Benin Bronzes, auctioning off the rest as war booty to recoup costs.