Women Photographers

jpg454Photography in the 19th century was not the sole preserve of the male sex.  Although the number of women photographers was comparatively small, it was significant. The new blog lists of some of the women in Victorian England who took to the new photographic technology on their own account.

Many seem to have been in business for a very short period, as were many of their male counterparts. However, women like Mrs Higgins of Stamford, Mrs Elizabeth Miller of Yarmouth and Miss Sarah Ann  White of Towcester bucked the trend and continued snapping away for several decades.

To view some of the images produced by lady photographers please click here

13 thoughts on “Women Photographers

  1. Hi, I purchased a large number of prints – mostly family portraits circa 1860, some earlier – by Emma Frances Johnston, The Manor House, North End, Hampstead, London. I have been unable to find any reference to her, or her photography. I would be pleased to hear from anyone who knows anything about her. She was related to a family named Hanson, into which her sister Anna Johnstone married.

    1. have checked Pritchard’s ‘Directory of London Photographers 1841 – 1908’ and could find no mention of E F Johnston. I also checked the decennial census returns and found her there with her father, James, a solicitor and mother, Mary in 1861. I followed this through but there was no mention of an occupation (of any kind), in fact later in the 19th century Emma F Johnston was living on her own means (property and shares). She died 13 Oct 1905, according to the Probate register and left an estate of £1245 9s 8d. She died a spinster, aged 71, her address at this time was 16 Bayswater Terrace, Paddington, London. Perhaps, with independent means, she pursued a career in photography among family and friends. Hope this is of some interest.

      1. Hi, I’m most grateful for your efforts on my behalf. I hope that, one day, the name Emma Johnston will be added to the history of 19th century photography. She was taking fine portraits in the early 1850’s and seemed to continue until the late 1860’s. Not as artistic as Julia Cameron or Lady Hawarden but, considering her dates, good enough for some recognition.

  2. I am trying to find information on my great grandmother Doris Sarah Ann Wilmot. In the 1911 census for Newport, Wales she is listed as a lady photographer. Any ideas? Regards, Chris Cooper

  3. Do you know anything about Clara Clifton, who became Clara Quested? In the 1881 census, she is aged 20 and has a 1 year old daughter, Florence, with my gt gt gt grandfather, Edward Fillingham Stiles, aged 62! They are living together in London. She also had a child about a year later with the surname Quested, marrying the father in 1887 and moving to Birmingham.

    1. Hi Just stumbled across this by chance. I am also descended from EFS. He is my great great grandfather, and his youngest daughter Emily is my great grandmother. I too found the 1881 census record interesting! I am guessing he met her because of his profession. I sent away for a birth cert. of Florence but it revealed nothing about the father at all. Have only started up the threads of this again recently. Have been trying to find more information but I have reached a dead end so far.

      1. my daughter is the great great granddaughter of Florence Quested. I am in the process of writing down her family tree for this branch of her paternal line. I am happy to swap any information

    2. Hi there…..with a little hope that you are still ‘active’…….my daughter is the great great granddaughter of Florence Quested and I am in the process of writing down her family tree for this branch of her paternal line. I am happy to swap any information

    1. Well, thank you very much. I much prefer this latest layout to the previous one, so it’s good to know it meets with other people’s approval too. Thanks for ‘dropping in’.

      Christine Hibbert (QVictoria

  4. One of the women photographers you list was Mrs. Bustin of Hereford- an ancester of mine, who was an artist from London -she was in charge of at least one photographic studio, as well as being the mother of ten children- her husband had moved to Bristol to take over a pub, the Griffin Inn in Griffin Lane, (now Lower Park Row) run by his father. Richard Bustin Her husband, Richard Britten Bustin, was the ex head master of the Hereford School of Art, and the Photographic business was established first in Ross-on-Wye.

    1. I am researching the parish of St John’s in Hereford and have of course come across the Bustins. Do you know if anyone has written up the family – I don’t want to re-invent the wheel if this has been done. I would like to include them in a potential book about the parish in Victorian times.

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