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Francis Bedford (1815-94)

Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, and his party at Capernaum 21 April 1862

RCIN 2700947

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Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, (centre) and his party at Capernaum. On 21 April 1862, he wrote in his diary 'We lunched under a fig tree at 12 o'clock on the site of where once the city of Capernaum is said to have stood, & Mr Bedford photographed us en groupe'. In the spring of 1862, according to a plan made by his father, who had died in December 1861, the Prince of Wales was sent on an educational journey to Palestine and the Near East. Francis Bedford had been commissioned to act as the official photographer. Bedford's task was fraught with some difficulties and his work was hindered by heat, rain, dust, insects and transport difficulties. On the other hand, since he was with the royal party, he was able to photograph in places not open to ordinary tourists. 210 plates were the final results. Bedford was subsequently invited to show his work to the Queen at Osborne on 18 July 1862. 172 prints were later exhibited at the German Gallery in Bond Street, where they were acclaimed by the photographic press. They undoubtedly represented some of Bedford's best work and some were later used to illustrate books about the Near East.