'Four Generations' (King George V; Queen Victoria; King Edward VII; Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor (King Edward VIII))

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© National Portrait Gallery, London

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'Four Generations' (King George V; Queen Victoria; King Edward VII; Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor (King Edward VIII))

by John Chancellor
albumen panel card, 1899
11 3/8 in. x 9 3/8 in. (288 mm x 239 mm)
Purchased, 1983
Primary Collection
NPG P232

Sittersback to top

Artistback to top

  • John Chancellor (active 1860s-died 1916), Photographer. Artist or producer associated with 21 portraits.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Rogers, Malcolm, Camera Portraits, 1989 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 20 October 1989 - 21 January 1990), p. 143 Read entry

    The sitters are (left to right): Prince George, Duke of York 1865-1936, later George V; Queen Victoria; Edward, Prince of Wales 1841-1910, later Edward VII; and Prince Edward of York 1894-1974, later Edward VIII, and subsequently Duke of Windsor.

    Writing to her daughter Princess Victoria, Empress Frederick of Germany, in June 1894, about the birth of Prince Edward of York, a 'fine, strong-looking child', Queen Victoria commented on the birth: 'It is a great pleasure & satisfaction, but not such a marvel'. She added, 'As it is, however, it seems that it has never happened in this Country that there shld be three direct Heirs as well as the Sovereign alive'. The Queen was evidently fond of this idea, and a number of photographs and paintings commemorate 'The Four Generations'. This group by Chancellor of Sackville Street, Dublin, was taken at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight on 5 August 1899, shortly after the Queen's eightieth birthday. Originally a firm of clock-makers, Chancellors turned to photography in the 1860s. The cartes-de-visite from this period bear the name of John Chancellor.

  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 736

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Events of 1899back to top

Current affairs

George Nathaniel Curzon, Lord Curzon, is appointed Viceroy of India, pursuing a mixed policy of forceful control and conciliation. Curzon's inquiries into Indian administration result in legislation in areas including education, irrigation, and policing. The Board of Education is created to co-ordinate the work of higher grade elementary schools, county technical schools and endowed grammar schools, also setting up a register of teachers.

Art and science

The Italian Guglielmo Marconi transmits the first wireless telegraph, between France and England across the English Channel, a distance of 32 miles. Marconi's production of waves over long distances lays the foundations for the development of the radio. Later this year, Marconi demonstrates his invention in America, at the Cup yacht race, and for the American navy.


Outbreak of the second Boer war, fought between the British Empire and the two independent Boer Republics of the Orange Free State and the Transvaal. Despite a disastrous start, Britain quickly won the war, although guerilla warfare continued until 1902, leading to the introduction of concentration camps by British commander Lord Kitchener, a measure which contributes to the British public's growing disillusionment with the campaign.

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