About this blog – Photographers Trade Cards

I’ve been collecting cartes-de-visite photographs for some years now. These are small photographic images from the second half of the 19th century and are a window on the world of Victorian society.

My main interests, however, are the names and studios of the photographers who produced these images. Therefore I have collected data from all over Britain relating to 19th century photographers and set them out in alphabetical order, with open-ended dates where known. Trade directories are my main source for these dates, as is census material.

The backs of c-d-vs are minor works of art in their own right. They show name, address and services offered by the studio and can be invaluable if there was a photographer in your family tree,  if  you need to date an old family photo or if you just appreciate graphic design. All the names recorded in the main lists relate to c-d-v photos in my collection. Some images of trade cards and named sitters are already available to view, just follow the links at the top of the home page.

I will add more of these images, backs and fronts, in the course of time and hope you enjoy venturing into the world of our 19th century ancestors.

Almost all the photographers listed on this blog are from my own collection. This means that if you find a photographer who is of interest to you, I can scan in his or her trade card for you to see. Or you may be more interested in the images that the photographers produced, if so, they also can be scanned in for you to see

The exceptions are those mentioned in ‘Miscellaneous jottings’, which are based on information passed on by followers of the blog.

A selection of photographers trade cards is already available to view. Just follow the link  – Photographer’s trade cards’.

A gallery of  ‘named sitters’ is also included. These are quite rare as very few 19th century photos carried the name of the subject. Again, the link is found at the head of this page.

There is a wealth of info. on the site, both factual and visual, so go ahead, CLICK THE LINKS above and see what you can discover. If all else fails, I can also access trade directories for most of England and Wales to establish a timeline of when specific photographers and their studios were in business.

Christine Hibbert

Examples of photographers trade cards

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37 Responses to About this blog – Photographers Trade Cards

  1. lyn perry says:

    I have been looking at some records of my husband’s greatgrandfather (Robert Hughes) who was a photographer in Macclesfield. I have only established so far that he worked out of a studio in Roe Street. I have found
    B R Leech as a photographic artist Brunswick Terrace c 1861 and then at 28 and 30 Roe St 1874 / 1896. Joseph Albinson is also mentioned at Roe St c 1910 and ROBERT HUGHES is listed as “successor to Leech 28 Roe St ” c.1905.
    Regards
    Lyn

    • Mike Bones says:

      Some slight connection Lyn,as a Norma (Louise) Albinson (husband relative), was the photographer after Robert Hughes! (Recent post on Macclesfield Xpats Facebook page).

  2. Kai says:

    Hi Christine,
    Great site. I agree photographer’s trade cards can be very interesting. I’ve been searching the net looking for photos taken by a T(Thomas).Wright of Poplar and later Canning Town/Forest Gate. He’s a distant relative through his wife Sarah (nee Gray).I notice you seem to have him listed in your Victorian Photographers section and also have an example of an early trade card .
    Any chance of getting a scaned image of the front and rear of this photo? I know he operated a shop at 134 & 199 East India Dock Rd, Poplar and then later at Bedford House, Canning Town. Living in Australia i don’t come across these old CDV photo much, so it’s wonderful to see them on sites like yours.

    Kind Regards
    Kai

  3. susan baker says:

    Thanks for your blog and images. I have a CDV from J Usher Photographer Ramsgate. Would you like to add this to your images? I have not found the back of this card in any of my searches.

  4. Andrew Groom says:

    Hi Christine
    We have come across an early family portrait CDV by Davidson & Son of Lanark and Carluke which dates to around 1870 “ish” and wondered if you were interested in the image and also whether you could tighten the possible date based on the reverse motif. Your blog and other sites do not talk much about this particular photographer who, from work put on to some historical websites, did take quite a few images of the local scenery as well. Is this of any interest at all.

    regards
    Andrew

  5. rpeentner says:

    Hi I have searched the site for Pulsk’s Studio which was in Whitechapel Road early in the 20th century, but no hits. Has anyone got any info on this studio?

    • qvictoria says:

      The Polsky Brothers, Hyman & Benjamin, had a photographic studio at 136 Whitechapel Road, London between at least -1903-1908-

      QVictoria

      • Marc says:

        Hi qvictoria
        Would you happen to know anything else about the Polsky Brothers Studio? My grandfather, Abraham Goldin, was the son of Fanny Polsky, sister of Hyman & Benjamin. I have several photos of my grandfather from the studio. Once when in London, I took a walk down Whitechapel Rd to see what was at that location, or if anything still stood. What’s there now is a phone store! Anyway, I just wondered if you knew anything further about the brothers or the studio?
        Thanks — Marc Goldin (Chicago)

      • Natalie says:

        Hi,
        My great-grandmother lived with her parents and siblings in the flat above the photography studio from at least 1911 to 1918. I would love to see any contemporary photographs.
        Natalie

  6. Amazing I understand so much more about the occupation of my Great Grand Aunt and indeed the art and development of photography itself. Thankyou

  7. paul bullock says:

    I have several photos taken at different studios, at least one which isn’t within this blog/web site. So for all of your informations these are (between 1875-90)

    Combes 32 Preston Street Brighton
    H.Sache Southampton
    Henderson at King William St. London Bridge and at Amersham Rd. New Cross
    Emberson and Sons 6 Wilton Rd. Belgravia and Chertsey SW Surrey.
    W J Robinson 46 High St. Gosport
    Charles Brown 80 Stroud Green Rd, Finsbury Park, N.
    Ellis and Burville, London
    A Gosney. Sherbourne, Yoevil, Dorchester and Crewkerne
    B J Hunt 10 Oxford Road Windsor

    I hope these addresses will be of use to some of you collector/historians

    • qvictoria says:

      Paul, thanks for these ‘new’ photographers – I’ll put them in the Miscellaneous section,

      Christine Hibbert

  8. Thanks for your comment/help on my blog Wanda B. Victorian. I’m definately going to add you to my favorites bar as I hope to have a regular feature on my blog of my growing card collection. I’m interested in the women’s clothes and how they wore them and so dating is valuable information to me. When I have a card that hales from Britian your blog will be my first stop for research! I’m from Canada so most of my cards in my collection are Canadian but I have a few from your neck of the woods…brought over by loved ones immigrating probably. I have posted one from Scottland that I’m going to relook at and compare to your notes!

  9. Jim Boyle says:

    Hi , I purchased a CDV from Ebay of a statue/bust of Josiah Wedgwood. The photographer was a F R Ryles from Burslem who had his shop very close to the Etruria factory that the Wedgwood firm was using. I expect that he was selling his images to folk who were visiting the factory. Do you know if others used CDV in this particular way? I appreciated finding the approximate date of the card from your blog. Thanks very much for posting this.

    • qvictoria says:

      Jim, I’m sure they did, thouogh I have no other examples of this. I have seen cdvs used as an advertising medium and have one such example. I’ll post it as soon as I can search it out.

      Glad to hear we could help with the approximate dates for F R Ryles.

      QVictoria

  10. i’ve heard of these, but never seen one in person. but i know that contemporary photogs are beginning to produce their own and trade them. sound like a lot of fun
    keep up the good blog,
    Dallas Photographer Les Wollam

    • qvictoria says:

      It’s interesting to note that somewhere cartes de visite are once again in production. They say there’s nothing new under the sun. The c-d-v was a phenomenally successful medium in its day, would be good to see what modern photographers can come up with.

  11. David Winston Howard says:

    Dear Christine Hibbert

    I have a small Victorian photograph which I hope you can help me to positively identify (if records still exist). The figure is that of a boy, perhaps fourteen or fifteen, who is either my grandfather or his nephew. Grandfather was born at Sowton in 1856 and came to New Zealand in 1876 on the ‘Dilharee’. He later sponsored his nephew.

    Details on the back of the phoptograph:

    No. 27632
    ER. Denney and Co
    Albion Studios
    43, St Sidwells
    Exeter (and Okehampton)

    I understand you are more interested in Victorian calling cards, nature scenes, etc, but if you would like a copy of this photograph, I’m happy to e-mail you one. I will need your e-mail address.

    With all warm wishes

    David Howard

  12. Gill says:

    Henry ( Harry ) Mann Leicester:
    Studio Details : Mann, Henry (Harry) – Photographer
    48 Church Gate Leicester Leicestershire England
    1891 – 1892

    This is all the info that I have on my ancestor – does anyone know how I can find out more please??

    • qvictoria says:

      Gill, it sounds obvious but I exopect you’ve looked the 19th century censuses for Leicester. Of course, he may have set up a photographic business elsewhere but if he did, you might only come across him by chance. Sorry I can’t be of more help. Christine Hibbert

  13. becky says:

    Dear Christine,
    I was searching for info on an ancestor, who I had forgotten was a photographer, and came across your site. As others have said, what a wonderful site.
    The man in question was Jonathan Whittaker, Oswaldtwistle, and I wonder what images you have, as you say the reverse of cdv s were art in themselves.
    Thanking you,
    Becky
    Manchester, UK

  14. Rob Cole says:

    I note you have listed a Mr Moss, from West Maitland, Australia, among your Victorian photographers. he apparently provided 15 photos of the funeral of the captain of the 1888 British & Irish Lions captain Rob Seddon to his grieving team mates after Seddon was unfortunately drowned on the Hunter River in a boating accident. Do any of these photos still exist? or are there any other surviving images from Moss and this era?

  15. John Rochon says:

    Hi Heather:

    Here is the promised link to my new blog – still doesn’t have a great deal on it yet, but it will give you an idea. I hope you visit and leave a comment.

    http://ontariophotosandphotographers.blogspot.com/

    John.

    • qvictoria says:

      Hi John, really enjoyed the new blog. Such a fascinating story told with different source material. I look forward to taking a longer look in the near future and will provide a link from my blog. QVictoria

  16. John Rochon says:

    Hi Heather:

    Here is the promised link to my new blog – still doesn’t have a great deal on it yet, but it will give you an idea. I hope you visit and leave a comment.

    John.

  17. John Rochon says:

    Hi Heather:

    You’re welcome, I’m glad to info. was useful. I have the dates for your photo by Lemaitre, J.H. & Co. – 1877-1891.

  18. John Rochon says:

    Hello from Canada!

    What a wonderful blog – thank you so much for sharing your information. I think it’s very important that we (photo collectors, researchers) be willing to share our information, because if we don’t, that information could be lost once we’re gone. I’m attempting to construct a similar blog for Ontario, but concentrating on Sarnia-Lambton. Once I have it going, I’ll send you a link. I also have a group on Flickr.com called The Flip Side, dedicated to gathering photographer information from around the world.

    Would you be interested in scans from Canada? If so, I have many I can send you. Also, would you accept scans from larger format photos, or do you want to concentrate on CDV’s? Oh, and BTW, the dates for your photo by Farmer Bros. of Hamilton, ON are 1877-1896.

    Thanks again,

    John.

  19. Gordon Higham says:

    My great grandfather was JC Dinham of Torquay. He had a photographic studio employing about 19 people at 34 Union Street. My grandfather and greatuncle took over the business. The business started about 1881.

    I have inherited a collection of their photographs including many of royalty inspecting the fleet at Torpoint.

    Is this of interest to anyone?

    • Jennifer Smit says:

      I am so interested to see your posting Gordon. I came upon it as I am researching my family history and have a photograph taken by your grandfather of some ancestors, whose names I don’t know. The photo has a notation on the back saying ‘roughly 1867’ but it must be later going on what you have said about when the business was started.

      I would love to know who these people are. The photo ended up in South Africa where it came into my father’s possession. I have no way of knowing if the family in the photo emigrated or whether they sent the photo to family members who did. Do you have any idea what may have happened to the appointment book used by the studio? I’d be happy to send you a scan of the photo if you are interested and I have your email address.

    • Jill Buhler says:

      Hello, I have a wonderful photo of two people on camels along with Egyptian guides, posing on front of the Sphinx and a pyramid. J.C. Dinham and Torquay are printed on the matting outside of the photo. Do you have any information on such a photo? Thank you.
      Jill Buhler
      Port Townsend, Washington
      USA

      • qvictoria says:

        Jill, How intriguing – I’d love to see a ‘copy’ of the photo. I’ll try to find some info for you.

        QVictoria

    • Pat Nixon says:

      I was also interested to read your post. I have a group photograph taken at Torquay police station (my great Grandad was a P.C. there) and I am trying to date it and noticed the imprint of Dinham, Torquay on the bottom left hand corner. I know of a later one of 1899 when they had a bigger number of staff so I suspect mine to be one Dinhams earlier work. Your dating of the studio opening gives me a better idea. Thanks

      • qvictoria says:

        Thanks, Pat, I’m pleased to hear that the blog has been of help to you. I should perhaps point out that the -1881- date reflects the earliest reference I can find to Dinham’s studio; he may have been in business before that date.

        Christine

  20. Heather Musgrave says:

    I was pleased to find A. James – Louth on your site. The photograph that I have has A. James signature on bottom left of the card as well as Ramsgate House Louth ( the corner of the photo is missing so I am not sure if it may have had something else after Louth) Then in very small lettering it says … the Peoples Photographer. What year would you date this card?
    The lettering is in gold and the cardboard is black with black border.

    The other card has R.R. Livermore Photographer 4 Gas Street Kettering. Are you able to date this photographers works.

    One last photo I have was taken by E.R. Dixon, 194 High St., Lincoln … it is a Post Card with the KLTD stamp in right hand corner in a square box with rounded corners. Do you know when this may have been taken.

    Thank you kindly, Heather

    • qvictoria says:

      Dear Heather,
      in reply to your query, I have unearthed the following info. for A. James, Ramsgate House, Louth. He was operating from that address from at least 1892 until 1900 (and possibly beyond but I have no further directories to consult after this date). Mr James also had a photographic studio, or business, at Mablethorpe from c1896-1900-.

      I was disappointed not to find any references to R R Livemore in the Northants directories, nor for E R Dixon in the Lincs ones. However, I suspect that E R Dixon was probably operational post 1900, as the postcards,as you describe, were generally late 19th/ early 20th century.

      Sorry I could not be of more help this time but if more details turn up I will contact you again.

      Kind Regards
      Christine H.

  21. Lizzie K says:

    I think it is a wonderful blog, very clear and easy to find your way around the information. It’s very generous of you to share the information and help solve queries.

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