Letters Patent For Artistic Improvement

According to the scrawled date on the reverse of this Victorian Cabinet Card, it was taken somewhere around the 11th November 1889. The clothing and the photographic style fits well with this date, and we know that the studio - Brown, Barnes & Bell of Liverpool and London - were active at the time. The … Continue reading Letters Patent For Artistic Improvement

John Shaw And The Photographic Bandwagon

This rather stern looking lady was captured by the Heckmondwike studio of John S Shaw. John Shaw was born near Halifax in 1815, and for most of his working life was a farmer in Staffordshire. Only when he was in his sixties to he return to his native West Yorkshire to climb aboard the commercial … Continue reading John Shaw And The Photographic Bandwagon

Fancy Goods And Photographs

In Search Of Edward Gregson Part 2 My research into the life and times of Edward Gregson, photographer, of Halifax and Blackpool is both illogical and unstructured: flitting between odd facts and unrelated times, and punctuated by portraits of anonymous Victorian worthies. It is a journey of discovery in which gazing out of the window … Continue reading Fancy Goods And Photographs

In Search Of Edward Gregson : Part 1

There is an advert doing the rounds on television at the moment for some new family history database service which is supposed to make tracing your ancestors as easy as sending a Paypal transfer for £100. Just press a computer key and: "Oh goodness, my grandmother was the daughter of the Duke of Beaudung", says … Continue reading In Search Of Edward Gregson : Part 1

Stone Antiquities And Tree Trunk Props

This little Victorian Carte de Visite dates from a time when photographs were for special occasions, rather than the result of a selfie-click on a smartphone. Young men or women would have their photographs taken on birthdays and holidays, wearing their very best clothes, and posing against a background of stone antiquities and tree-trunk props (the props … Continue reading Stone Antiquities And Tree Trunk Props

Saving Souls

Like some latter-day Victorian parson, I occasionally think I am in the business of saving souls. Many of the nineteenth century studio portraits that come into my possession are showing their age: spots of mould eat into the very soul of the image. A little careful renovation makes them fit for another century or two. … Continue reading Saving Souls

What More Can Be Said?

There is something very distinctive about this Victorian lady, who was photographed by Dupont's studio in Brussels in 1893. There is a signature on the reverse, but it is indecipherable. It also says the word "Eindhoven" which I assume was where she was from.  The Dupont family had been leading photographers in the Belgian capital … Continue reading What More Can Be Said?

Howard & Louise Bantes

This is a nineteenth century photograph (but only just) from the studio of Borman and Johnson of Main Street, Danbury in Connecticut. Before Norman and Johnson took over, the studio belonged to a certain Mr Blackman. On the reverse, the names of the two children are listed as A Howard Bantes, age 12; and Louise … Continue reading Howard & Louise Bantes