Notices from The Times

Wharton and Co of Peterborough had a nice little business producing cartes de visite photographs of newspaper announcements of births, deaths and marriages. These were neat lasting mementos to add to the family album. The examples I had found were from 1907 to 1910. But it transpires that the idea wasn’t unique to Samuel John Wharton. A recent buy on Ebay included two similar products from  1901 and 1903 from Wharton’s older brother Herbert C.Wharton, a photographer in Kilburn and, more surprising, a couple of much earlier examples, one anonymous from 1876 and one by Edgar Gael of Bromley Kent from 1877. (both shown below) From some additional research it appears that there were other photographers who specialised in this product, namely Marc Hughes of Hammersmith and the Centaur Photo Co. of Bromley.

So far I have not been able to find any newspaper advertising for this service – has anyone else come across any such advertisements? Newspaper announcements of births and marriages usually included the address of one or more of the parties and Robin and Carol Wichard in their book “Victorian Cartes de Visite” suggest that these firms would have photographed the announcements speculatively and mailed the cartes with the offer of a purchase or return. (although this probably wouldn’t work for death announcements!) It would be great to pin this down with any accompanying materials. Does anyone have an example speculative sales letter tucked away in the back of a family album? This type of speculative marketing would explain why these cartes mainly carry a number of announcements, rather than an enlarged version of a single notice – that way one photograph could be sold to a number of customers.

wharton4

Two example cartes de visite with Times notices from the 1870s. No photographer’s details on the right hand example.

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