Prince Albert’s Philanthropic Project of the South Kensington Museum

South-Kensington-Museum

Prince Albert owned the worlds largest collection of Raphael reproductions with over 50 unique portraits. Albert commissioned a photographer to go into the Vatican Museum in Rome, Italy and take photographs of all Raphael works. These photographs of course lacked color being a product of their time and technology, so hand painted versions were made using chromolithography technology. The intention of the collection was not simply to collect but rather to draw people into Windsor Castle to teach them about art history, which is actually the format in which modern day art historians teach artwork to students; in a photo library. Unlike most monarchs, Albert and Victoria wanted to feed the public with knowledge, art, and science. Albert believed that industry could place great works of art into the hands of the masses using manufacturing techniques which would cut costs dramatically. Albert was especially interested in batteries and their connection to various metals in different solutions. This borderline obsession was sparked when Albert seen a real rose turned to gold by dipping it into a chemical solution of chemicals which coated the rose, permanently changing its outer layer. This process is referred to as “electroforming” and involves dropping a dried rose into an electrically conductive material and attached to a battery. A solution of precious metal is prepared, typically gold, after which the rose is left to sit within the solution for a few moments. The rose attracts metal particulate within the solution because of its coating. Albert put on a great exhibition entitled the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations in 1851 which cost £335,742 which equates to £46,482,000 as of 2019 when accounting for inflation. The revenue from this project was £522,000 which equates to £72,269,000 as of 2019. Over 6,000,000 (6 million) people attended and exhibits from 25 countries were featured. Albert took the profits from this endeavor and purchased South Kensington Museum, a building which would be used solely for art, science, and industry to be displayed for the public. Because of Alberts involvement and enormous success, South Kensington Museum started to become referred to as “Albertopolis” meaning “City of Albert” in Greek. South Kensington Museum is the embodiment of Alberts enlightened belief that culture and learning should be at the very heart of any successful nation. South Kensington Museum opened on 1857 and is referred to during the modern day as the “Victoria and Albert Museum” or the abbreviation “V&A”. South Kensington Museum is the world’s largest museum of applied and decorative arts and design and sculpture and houses a permanent collection of over 2,270,000 (2.27 million) pieces. Alberts favorite place to get away in Buckingham Palace is the Print Room where his collection of Raphael’s are stored. Victoria could not bear to even enter the room for months after Alberts untimely death at age 42 in 1861

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