More images and a new photographer

It has been a record week with over 20 new images added to the site. Amongst them is a carte de visite by Harrison, 5 Chesterton road Cambridge, probably from the 1860s. This is a new name, but a familiar address – that of photographer Frances Nicholls. Nothing yet discovered about Mr or Mrs Harrison


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.


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

Post Office Terrace Cambridge, and more

Delighted to meet Peter Lofts and his wife this week. Peter was the final owner and photographer operating at Post Office Terrace Cambridge, one of the oldest and longest continually occupied studios in England. Peter has saved negatives from all the occupants of this historic studio and they are all on loan at the Cambridgeshire Collection. Peter is writing a book on the studio.

Also this week some examples of the work of Cambridgeshire photographers have been bought from Greece and Denmark and posted on the site.

Tried out today the new computer-controlled film reader at the Cambridgeshire Collection – an improvement on the older versions of readers, but it is still a little awkward to scan the huge pages of old newspapers – fit the page on the screen and it’s too tiny to read, fit less than a page on the screen and you are constantly moving round to find the edges. Spent the morning looking through the Cambridge Independent Press for 1844 and 1845 looking for a report of the moonlight flit of the first Cambridge Daguerreotype photographer – sadly there was no such report. But – one interesting find was an advertisement for the sale of a library and other items by the executors from the estate of the late Rev T E Rogers of Lackford Suffolk on 26th and 27th Nov 1844 which included a “complete Daguerreotype apparatus made by one of the first opticians in Paris”. I wonder who bought this and whether the purchase led to a successful career as a photographer.

Ely photographer missionary in India

Just heard from Mike Petty who passed on a letter he had received several years ago seeking information about one Frederick William Savidge. This marries up with a carte de visite by photographer FW Savidge from Ely, about whom we had so far dicovered nothing. The information from Mike has enabled us to discover that Frederick, born in Stretham, practiced briefly as a photographer in the High Street at Ely, but was a schoolteacher who then became a pioneering missionary in India. His entry on the site has now been updated. Also added in the last few days, Norfolk photographer Olive Edis, who photographed Cambridge subjects and exhibited in Cambridge.   Also discovered this week a sister site for Derbyshire photographers – now added to the Links and References page.

Rev Frederick Charles Lambert and Exhibition Catalogues

After slaving away on the 5th floor of the Cambridge University Library with the journals and exhibition catalogues of the Photographic Society of London, later the Royal Photographic Society, I’ve today added another photographic author and photographer with a Cambridge connection to the site – Rev Frederick Charles Lambert.

While looking up what I thought might be a Cambridge house name for Lambert – Rulverdome – I found in the Google search results this name associated with Lambert and that the wonderful DeMontford University has actually digitised the catalogues I spent hours pouring over. They have a nice searchable interface here of Catalogue records from the annual exhibitions of the Royal Photographic Society 1870-1915:  This has thrown up a few more names to research. Also – search results show that William Farren exhibited there on no fewer than 10 occasions – a fantastic achievement yet to be noted on his site entry

Peter Henry Emerson

Another addition to the site today was picked up from exhibitors with Cambridgeshire addresses at the Photographic Society Annual Exhibitions. Peter Henry Emerson is a very famous photographer who was in Cambridge in the 1880s.

Declined to buy some Arthur Nicholls cabinet portraits from his time at the Isle of Wight – asking price in a Cambridge antique shop for portraits of unknown sitters at £5 seemed a bit excessive.