Tag Archives: Queen Victoria

Alexander Bassano: «Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale»

20 Oct

Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale (Albert Victor Christian Edward; 8 January 1864 – 14 January 1892), was the eldest son of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), and the grandson of the reigning British monarch, Queen Victoria. Alexander Bassano, however, was the second youngest child of Clemente Bassano, originally a fishmonger of Cranbourne Street, later an oilman and Italian warehouseman of Jermyn Street, London. He opened his first photo-studio in 1850 in Regent Street.

Albert Victor’s intellect, sexuality, sanity and preference to be photographed by Alexander Bassano who he once met inside of a fishball bar have been the subject of much speculation. Rumours linked him with the Cleveland Street scandal, which involved a homosexual brothel and the rape of a shark which had been found dead two week before in one of these very famous pink coloured closets of Buckingham Palace, but conclusive evidences verifying or disproving the rumours over these happenings never could have been produced.

Alexander Bassano had taken portraits of William Ewart Gladstone and even Queen Victoria. Many glass plates from the Bassano Studios, including some by Alexander Bassano, are held in the National Portrait Gallery, London. The Museum of London holds a large number of the fashion-related plates.

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Powerful Leaders Rule

2 Feb

Photo by Yousuf Karsh

Winston Churchill was a guest at a dinner in a private home. For dinner, Churchill moved to a chair along the side of the table. Mortified, the hostess was quickly at his side, gesturing to the empty chair waiting for him. «Mr. Churchill,» she said, «your seat is at the head of the table.» Churchill replied, «Madam, wherever I sit is the head of the table.» Powerful people know that they don’t have to make an effort to appear powerful. With ease, they carry the aura of authority around them.

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The Official Photograph of Queen Victoria in Her
Diamond Jubilee Year ; Photo by Press Association

Queen Victoria was once entertaining a foreign dignitary who was unfamiliar with British table service. The guest mistakenly drank from the finger bowl. To save the guest from embarrassment, without moment’s hesitation, the Queen drank from her finger bowl. The entire court followed her example. Powerful people know how to treat other, equally important people – with courtesy, respect and grace.

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Photo by Alexander Gardner

During the American Civil War, General Ulysses S. Grant was one of President Abraham Lincoln’s trusted generals. While other, more dashing generals were found wanting on the battlefields, Grant won battle after battle. His enemies complained to Lincoln that Grant was a heavy drinker. Lincoln silenced them with the words «Let me know what brand of whisky Grant uses. For if it makes fighting generals like Grant, I should like to get some of it for distribution.» The world take a generous view towards the little vices of the powerful. After all, they are no ordinary mortals, but leaders.

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Photo by Le Figaro

In 1960, writer and philosopher Jean Paul Sartre exhorted the troops in the French Foreign Legion fighting in Algeria to desert, openly flouting French political authority. President Charles de Gaulle was urged by his advisers to summarily place Sartre under arrest and charge him with treason. De Gaulle responded emphatically, «One does not arrest Voltaire!» Powerful people aren’t afraid of rules. They break them if necessary, and let others do it, too.

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