Visiting card. King Karl XV, Queen Louise and Princess Lovisa, photographed by Mathias Hansen in the mid-1860s. Photo from the Bernadotte Library's archive.
The Queen's portrait by Julia Hetta is the latest in a long line of photographic portraits of members of the Royal Family. Members of the royalty have been depicted since the Middle Ages. As new artistic techniques have been introduced, they have been used to immortalise the monarch.
Photography made its début when the Frenchman Louis Jacques Daguerre presented his new technique — the daguerreotype — in 1839. Four years later, Prince Gustaf's portrait was produced by the Austrian daguerreotypist Joseph Weninger. When King Oskar I ascended to the throne in 1844, the new monarch was photographed by the Frenchman A. Derville. The portrait was used as a model for new coins and medals. That same year, Derville had also photographed Prince Gustaf and Princess Eugenie at Logården.
When Prince Oskar (II) travelled with the frigate Eugenie to the Mediterranean in 1847, his photograph was taken. The French photographer was probably Huillot de Saignez. Photo from the Bernadotte Library's archive.
As Vice King of Norway, the heir to the throne Karl XV travelled around the Norwegian countryside to strengthen his position. He used photography to help achieve this aim, and was photographed in Norwegian national costume standing in front of a painted landscape view. The photographer was Mathias Hansen, who was subsequently named court photographer. When Karl XV was crowned in 1859, Hansen took the photographs used as models for coins and medals. In the early 1860s, cartomania swept Stockholm. King Karl XV helped to popularise photographic visiting cards. Countless official portraits of the monarch have been preserved.
Visiting card. King Karl XV, photographed by Mathias Hansen in around 1865. Photo from the Bernadotte Library's archive.
The Royal Family — led by King Oskar II — frequently commissioned photographic portraits, and the task of photographing royalty was highly coveted. The career of photographer Lina Jonn took off when she photographed Oskar II crowned with a laurel wreath in 1893 in connection with the conferral of his doctoral degree in Lund.
King Oskar II on the conferral of his doctoral degree in Lund in 1893, photographed by Lina Jonn. Photo from the Bernadotte Library's archive.
Royal portraits were in great demand, and in the early days of mass reproduction these photographs were circulated in newspapers and on postcards. This also led to the names of the photographers reaching a wider audience. The late 19th century and the early 20th century saw the rise of pictorialism, a movement that aimed to elevate the status of photography and have it recognised as an art. Herman Hamnqvist, editor of Fotografisk, was the movement's leading proponent in Sweden. He was engaged by King Gustaf V on several occasions. Henry B. Goodwin assumed the mantle as standard-bearer of artistic photography. In 1924, he photographed Crown Prince Gustaf (VI) Adolf and Louise Mountbatten. Just as before, images of the royalty were influenced by new photographic trends throughout the rest of the 20th century. The legendary photographer Lennart Nilsson, with his background in the daily press and the pictorial magazine Se, differed in style from previous court photographers. In 1950, he took a portrait of King Gustaf V. The King had never been depicted so candidly before. Nilsson also took the official portrait of King Gustaf VI Adolf before a new postage stamp issue in 1972, and two years later he photographed King Carl XVI Gustaf when he ascended to the throne.
Official portrait of The Queen, 1976. Photo: Lennart Nilsson
Portraits of the Royal Family continue to be influenced by new trends, and many photographs are taken — few Swedes are photographed as often as the Royal Family.