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Francis Bedford: Photographer to the Prince of Wales

Boy and man in front of a large stone building

The Baptistry of Canterbury Cathedral, 1855 ©

Francis Bedford (1815 – 94) was the first photographer to accompany a royal tour. In 1862, when he was asked by Queen Victoria to travel with the Prince of Wales, Bedford was an accomplished and respected professional photographer, with two earlier royal commissions already completed.

Bedford was born in London. He initially started working as a draughtsman and subsequently as a lithographer, but in 1853 he took up photography. Within a few years, he was working as a commercial photographer of landscape and architectural views.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert acquired examples of Bedford’s lithographic work and his photographs. The earliest known photographs by Bedford are in the Royal Collection and these, alongside other examples of his work, can be seen in the following pages.