Between His Royal Highness Prince Albert, Plaintiff; and William Strange, Jasper Tomsett Judge, Jasper A. F. Judge, and HM Attorney General, Defendants

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
Judgment Date08 February 1849
Date08 February 1849
CourtHigh Court of Chancery

English Reports Citation: 41 E.R. 1171

HIGH COURT OF CHANCERY

Between His Royal Highness Prince Albert
Plaintiff
and William Strange, Jasper Tomsett Judge, Jasper A. F. Judge, and Her Majesty's Attorney-General
Defendants.

S. C. 2 De G. & Sm. 652: 1 H. & Tw. 1; 18 L. J. Ch. 120: 13 Jur. 109f See v. Bradbury, 1879, 12 Ch. D. 903; Pollard v. Photographic Co., 1888, 40 Ch. D. 354.

[25] Between His royal highness prince albert, Plaintiff; and william strange, jasper tomsett judge, jasper A. F. judge, and her majesty's attorney-general, Defendants. Jan. 26, 27, 29, 30, Feb. 8, 1849. ^ [S. C. 2 De G. & Sm. 652 : 1 H. & Tw. 1; 18 L. J. Ch. 120 : 13 Jur. 109f See v. Bradbmy, 1879, 12 Ch. D. 903 ; Pollard v. Photographic Co., 1888, 40 Ch. D. 354.] The right and property of an author or composer of any work, whether of litera-'1/*' '*&ò.! ture, art, or science, in such work unpublished and kept for his private use qt 7J*~~ c pleasure, entitles the owner to withhold the same altogether, or so far as he may please, from the knowledge of others; and the Court will interfere to prevent the invasion of this right by the publication of a catalogue containing a description of such work. The Court will interfere by injunction to prevent a party availing himself in any manner of a title arising out of a violation of right or breach of contract or confidence. The cases in which the Court refuses to interfere by injunction until the legal right is established at law have no application to cases in which the Court exercises an original and independent jurisdiction to prevent a wrong arising from a violation of right or breach of contract or confidence. A party having, at the suit of A. and B., submitted to an injunction restraining him from publishing certain etchings, the work of A. and B. respectively, cannot object to an injunction granted on the application of A. restraining the publication of a catalogue or description of the etchings, on the ground that it is too extensive, as not clearly identifying which of such etchings belong exclusively to A. The original bill in this case was filed on the 20th October 1848 by His Royal Highness Prince Albert against William Strange, a printer and publisher in London, and Her Majesty's Attorney-General. The other parties were subsequently made Defendants by amendment. The bill, as amended, prayed that the Defendants might be ordered to deliver up to the Plaintiff all impressions and copies of the several etchings respectively in the bill mentioned made by the Plaintiff, and that the Defendants, and their servants, agents, and workmen, might, in the meantime, be restrained from exhibiting the gallery or collection of etchings in the bill mentioned, or any such etchings, and from making, or permitting to be made, any engravings or copies of the same, or any of them; and from in any manner pub-[26]-lishing the 1172 PRINCE ALBERT V. STRANGE 1 MAC. A O. 27. same, or any of them, and from parting with or disposing of the same, or any of them ; and that the Defendants, their servants, agents, and workmen, might be in like manner restrained from selling, or in any manner publishing, and from printing, the descriptive catalogue in the bill mentioned, or any work being, or purporting to be, a catalogue of the said etchings ; and that all the copies of the said catalogue in the possession or power of the Defendants might be given up to be destroyed, and for further relief. On the original bill, and the affidavits filed in support of it, an injunction was, on the 20th October 1848, granted against the Defendant Strange in the terms above prayed. This injunction was subsequently, on the 6th November 1848, extended to the other Defendants so far as the etchings were concerned. The Defendant Strange then put in his answer, and having done so, and without raising any questions as to the etchings, moved, on the 7th December 1848, before the Vice-Chancellor Knight Brucer to dissolve the injunction so far as it restrained him from printing the catalogue, or any work purporting to be a catalogue of the said etchings. The following are the faets raising the question at issue between the parties. The bill which was amended and re-amended (the passages introduced by amendment are distinguished by italics) stated that Her Majesty the Queen and the Plaintiff respectively had occasionally, for their amusement, made drawings and etchings, being principally of subjects of private and domestic interest to themselves, and of which etchings they had made impressions for their own use, and not for publication; that for the greater privacy such impressions had been far the, most part made by means of a private press kept for that purpose, and the plates themselves had been ordinarily kept by [27] Her Majesty under lock, and the impressions had been placed in some of the private apartments of Her Majesty at Windsor, and in such apartments only; that the Defendants Strange, Judge, and J. A. F. Judge, and their confederates, had in some manner obtained some of such impressions, which hail been surreptitiously taken from some of such plaits, and had thereby been enabled to form, and had formed, a gallery or collection of such etchings, of which they intended to make a public exhibition without the permission of Her Majesty and the Plaintiff, or either of them, and against their will; that the said Defendants and their confederates had compiled and prepared a work which had been printed and published by Strange, of which the title-page was " A Descriptive Catalogue of the Royal Victoria and Albert Gallery of Etchings (then followed a quotation from Shakspeare). London. Every purchaser of this Catalogue will be presented (by permission) with a facsimile of the autograph of either Her Majesty or of the Prince Consort, engraved from the original; the selection being left to the purchaser. Price Sixpence." The bill then set out various passages from a preface or introduction to this catalogue, containing general remarks laudatory of the performances mentioned in it. The catalogue itself comprised a list of sixty-three several etchings which the bill set out, together with some examples of the descriptive and other remarks which were under each heading in the catalogue. The bill proceeded to state that the several etchings were so made and from such drawings as in the catalogue mentioned ; that such catalogue and descriptive and other remarks could not have been compiled or made except by means of the possession of the several impressions of the said etchings so obtained and surreptitiously taken as aforesaid ; that the impressions of the said etchings were intended to be for [28] the private use of Her Majesty and the Plaintiff only, and that although copies of some of them had been occasionally and very rarely given to some of their personal friends (one to one friend and one to another), no such collection as that so advertised for exhibition was ever given away by them, or either of them, or by their or either of their permission, and no such collection could have been formed except of impressions surreptitiously and improperly obtained. The bill charged that as to some of such impressions the same were produced and obtained in the following 'manner, that is to say, certain of the plates were given io Mr. Brown, a pi-inter at Windsor, for the purpose of printing off certain impressions thereof for Her Majesty and the Plaintiff, and the said Mr. Brown employed thereon a parson of the name of Middleton, who, without Mr. flrown's consent or knowledge, and in violation of the confidence reposed in him, took impressions thereof for himself, and that Judge had bought, or in some manner obtained, the same from Middleton. The Attorney-General was made a Defendant to the bill in respect of the interest of Her Majesty in the subject-matter of the suit; and an information was at the same time filed by 1MAC. &G. 29. PRINCE ALBERT V. STRANGE 1173 the Attorney-General against the other Defendants to the bill, and against His Royal Highness, with a view of obviating any objection which might be taken on the ground that the property in some portion of the subject-matter of the suit was in Her Majesty, and not in His Royal Highness. In this information an injunction was obtained restraining the exhibition, but not interfering with the publication of the catalogue. The application for the injunction granted against Strange, on the 20th October 1848, was supported by the affidavits of His Royal Highness, his solicitor, and Mr. Anson. These affidavits confirmed th& statements con-[29]-tained in the original bill, and went to shew that, except on the occasion of some of the plates being sent to Mr. Brown, a printer at Windsor, for the purpose of taking some impressions for the use of Her Majesty and His Royal Highness, none of the plates had been out of the custody of Her Majesty or the Prince ; that no such collection as that advertised for exhibition coulrl have been formed except from impressions surreptitiously obtained from the private apartments of Her Majesty. His Royal Highness, by his affidavit, deposed in the following terms :-" I believe, and have no doubt, that no such collection could have been formed, except by impressions surreptitiously and improperly obtained, and that the same has been so formed. And I believe that the Defendant William Strange, or his confederate or confederates, the person or persons really in possession of the collection advertised for exhibition must have obtained, and did obtain, the same from some person or persons surreptitiously. And I say, that, by whatever means the same were obtained, the exhibition of the said etchings, or of any of them, is without the sanction and against the wishes of Her Majesty and myself; and that such exhibition will be in the highest degree offensive to Her Majesty and myself. I say, that I believe that such catalogue, and the descriptive and other remarks...

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