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Photograph - Alamayou, Prince (Son of Theodore. King of Abyssinia)
  • Alamayou, Prince (Son of Theodore. King of Abyssinia)
    London Stereoscopic and Photographic Company
  • Enlarge image

Alamayou, Prince (Son of Theodore. King of Abyssinia)

  • Object:

    Photograph

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1868-1880 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    London Stereoscopic and Photographic Company (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Albumen print

  • Museum number:

    PH.370-1885

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, room 512M, case MX8, shelf X, box 19

Prince Dejatch Alamayou (1861-1879) was the orphaned son of the Ethiopian emperor Tewodros II (Theodore) and his second wife, Queen Woyzaro Terunesh. Tewodros committed suicide just before British forces captured his fortress at Magdala in April 1868. The Queen died the same year whilst being escorted to her native province of Semyen. On her request the Prince was brought to England under the guardianship of Captain Speedy, an army officer who had spent time in Abyssinia and spoke Amharic. Speedy took Alamayou to the Isle of Wight where he was introduced to Queen Victoria, whose family spent summers on the island. The Prince made a strong impression on Victoria and, with her support, received an English education. His death of pleurisy at the age of eighteen was described by the Queen as ‘too sad’.

This carte de visite produced by the London Stereoscopic & Photographic Company reflects the high level of British interest in the orphan African prince. Images presenting Alamayou as a melancholy and romantic figure were widely available in the form of cabinet cards and cartes de visite both at the time of his arrival in England and following his death in 1879.

Physical description

Carte de visite of Dejatch Alamayou. Image probably taken at the time of his arrival in England (1868). Image shows the head and chest of the prince, who has a shaved head and gazes off to his right. He wears a shirt, jacket and necklace with large pear-shaped pendants. Photographic image has been mounted onto card to form carte de visite.

Place of Origin

London (made)

Date

1868-1880 (made)

Artist/maker

London Stereoscopic and Photographic Company (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Albumen print

Marks and inscriptions

Below frame/mount is handwritten: ‘Alamayou. Prince (Son of Theodore. King of Abyssinia). [1861-1879]’. More text on back of card. Handwritten on reverse: 'Prince Dejatch Alamayou / (I have seen the World) / The Son of the late / King "Thedore" / aged 7 years April 1868 / 11 July 1868 // Royal Families of the World'. Printed on reverse: 'The London Stereoscopic & Photographic Company, 54 Cheapside and 110 & 108 Regent Street'.

Dimensions

Height: 10 cm (of carte de visite), Width: 6.4 cm (of carte de visite)

Descriptive line

Carte de visite, image of Dejatch Alamayou, London Stereoscopic & Photographic Company, 1868-1880

Categories

African Diaspora; Black History; Portraits

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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