Unusual Stickyback – who is the photographer

The stickyback below, just over 1.5 x 1.5 inches, of an unknown young woman in a huge picture hat could be from around 1905-10. There is no “stickyback” sign board to identify the photographer. Instead, we have in the RH border a more complex numbering device, with numbers behind tiny windows, to link negative number and image together. The photo seems to have come from a strip and the torn edge on the left hand side suggests the images may have been in a side-by-side strip. On the reverse is a partial rubber stamp. This stamp is repeated side-by-side, with two partial images remaining. We can piece these together to read “Jack Leviss” (or Lewiss), “Tramways”, and the third word is possibly “Central”. Does anyone recognise the name and partial address as a local photographer?

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Cleethorpes 1931

I couldn’t resist this image at a recent sale. It’s a postcard with the name and address of the photographer on the reverse “Hardy’s Studios, 52 St Peters Avenue, Cleethorpes”. Clearly the couple are dressed up as Virginia Cherrill and Charlie Chaplin in the wonderful “City Lights” film which was released in January 1931. The photo is taken outdoors – there is just a hint of bunting along the top edge. Were the couple dressed in this way to attend some sort of outdoor fancy dress event ? Alternatively, was the photographer at some sort of outdoor venue offering clients a range of props to use in posing for a photo? Either way, I’m sure the couple were delighted with their portrait.

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Albert J. Mahomet (1858-1933), Wells Photographer

The cabinet photo below was bought, not because it is by a Cambridgeshire Photographer, but because I remembered reading something on Robert Pols’ website that Norfolk boasted the first British-born professional photographer of Asian descent, and I wondered if this was the photographer in question.  It turns out that this is one and the same person, and that he had a very interesting and varied life, from the workhouse to farming, blacksmithing, photographer and pastor. He has a wikipedia entry here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Mahomet and Robert Pols writes about him here: http://www.early-photographers.org.uk/Studio%20-%20Albert%20Mahomet.html .

The wikipedia entry has a photograph of Albert – and lo and behold, it looks to me like the cabinet photo below could be a self portrait. But I’m not very good with faces so – I’d welcome any other views on this. Many thanks

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Cabinet photo by Albert Mahomet, Wells, Norfolk, but is it a self portrait?

 

Carte de visite depicting a house in Cambridge

This interesting carte de visite by Mr Stearn of 72 Bridge Street Cambridge depicts a splendid Victorian town house, identified as what is now No 1 Chesterton Road Cambridge.

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This house was purchased by Magdalene College in the 20th century and now forms part of their Cripps Court complex. The appearance of the house has altered somewhat and it currently sports not one, but two, large bay windows at the front and the balcony above the front door has been removed.  From the dress of the figures in this image and the reverse of the mount, this appears to be a fairly early photograph by Thomas Stearn, perhaps from the 1870s.

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It is of similar age to cartes de visite with views of Cambridge colleges featured on this site, and is on a similar mount. It was initially thought to be another souvenir offering for students and visitors. It was therefore anticipated that this house may have had a famous occupant or some other reason to attract purchasers of the carte. Research so far has failed to find any such connection and it now seems more likely that the photograph was commissioned by the occupant of the house for his or her own personal use, perhaps to give to friends and relations for inclusion in their family albums. The occupant of this splendid property may have been particularly proud of his residence as evidence of his upward mobility if he had come from more humble beginnings.

It is impossible from local directories or the 1871 census to be sure who were the first occupants of this particular house. However, assuming that the one male and five females in the photograph are residents, it seems likely that they may be Cambridge solicitor William Henry Lawrence (1832-1895), his wife Ellen and four of their six daughters. Lawrence and his family were living at 28 Green Street Cambridge in 1871, but by 1881 they were living in this house, which was then called “Highclere” or “High Clare”. The family was still there in 1891, but by 1901, after her husband’s death, Ellen Lawrence had moved to Clarendon Street Cambridge.

Lawrence, born in Cambridge, son of a college porter and a college seamstress, started his legal career as a clerk to solicitor Edmond Foster. Later when he had qualified the firm became Foster and Lawrence and their office was, until 1876, at 28 Green Street  which was Lawrence’s address. The firm’s office moved to 10 Trinity Street in 1876 and this may therefore be the date that Lawrence moved his family from Green Street to Chesterton Road.

Lawrence may well be the gentleman in the top hat in the photograph. In 1876 Lawrence and his wife were both 44 and their daughters: Martha Annie, Ellen Kate, Emma Susan, Maria Louise, Rosa Alexander and Flora Amelia, ranged in age from 21 to 11 years.

Although this photograph already tells quite a story, we would welcome any further information on this house and its occupants.

Who was the cartoonist Dod?

Recently purchased, an old album page with eight albumen prints of Cambridge related cartoons. One cartoon is dated 1875, another 1877. These appear to be photographic prints of cartoons which would have sold as souvenirs of Cambridge for students or visitors, in much the same was as postcards were to be sold in later years. But who was the photographer producing these albumen prints, and who was Dod, the cartoonist whose name appears on four of these? The name J.P.Soule (or similar) is on another and three have no artist’s name.

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Just one photograph

Finding just one old photograph can mean discovering another photographic studio which had never made it into the local trade directories. So this week, the discovery of the carte de visite below suggests that the firm, which is now Gillman and Soame, Oxford, once had a presence in Cambridge.  But there is still more to be discovered about this. For example who was the sitter – named on the reverse as “Henry Shelding”?

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