Cricketers at Lee in Kent, 1862
An albumen print showing a group of young men in shirtsleeves; one of the boys is holding a cricket bat and another a cricket ball.
According to an inscription inked neatly in the lower margin, this is a ‘Group at the Rev. E.A. Claydon’s’ at Lee in 1862. All ten of the young men are identified by name, and in four cases their regiment is also given (presumably the regiment that they subsequently joined after the left Reverend Claydon’s school).
The boys are: Oswald, Godson (Royal Artillery), Hawes, St Clair Smith (49th Regt.), Douglas, Patey, Lyons, Bannister (10th Hussars), Edgar Larking and the Honourable E. A. Holmes à Court (85th Regt.).
Reverend Edmond Claydon appears on the 1861 census, aged 34, running a small school at 3 and 4 Church Terrace, Lee. He gave his profession as ‘Tutor, Clergyman of the Church of England / without cure of souls, M.A. Camb.’ At the time of the census, the school had fifteen pupils, all but one aged between 17 and 19. Several of the boys present on the night of the census appear in this portrait.
Condition: the mount is a soft paper album page; it presents some foxing, particularly on its reverse. Some of this shows through the print a little, but its tonal range is good and it is otherwise in fine condition. The reverse of the album page is blank.
Dimensions: the print measures 5.2” by 7.2” (13.3 cm by 18.3 cm); the album page measures 6.9” by 10.3” (17.5 cm by 26 cm).
A cricket match, circa 1870
An albumen print showing a group of people assembled on some grass, the men on the left already dressed for a cricket match. Some of the other men also have cricket bats. This is possibly a ‘Hall vs Village’ cricket match. The facial hair of the men in cricket whites suggests that they might be the villagers. The hats and hairstyles of the young women date the portrait to the 1870s.
Condition: the print is in excellent condition, with good tonal range. The mount is clean and crisp. The reverse of the mount is blank.
Dimension: the print measures 6.4” by 8.6” (16.3 cm by 21.8 cm). It is mounted on a clean piece of stiff paper which measures 8.9” by 11” (22.7 cm by 28 cm).
Mr Barclay’s boys, Brighton, circa 1865
An albumen print showing a group of young schoolboys, presumably photographed on the South Downs behind Brighton.
A pencilled inscription in a period hand in the lower margin reads: ‘Mr Barclay’s boys, 11 Sussex Square.’
Reverend Henry Barclay ran a boy’s preparatory school at 11 Sussex Square in Brighton’s Kemp Town. For many years his friend Reverend Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) was an annual visitor. The two men had met when they were up at Oxford. Today a plaque on the building commemorates Dodgson’s sojourns in Brighton.
Condition: the print presents a small amount of peripheral spotting and a few marks in the area of the sky; the latter appear worse in the scan than in reality. It is otherwise in fine condition, with good tonal range. It is mounted on a crisp section of cut-down album page. At some point a platinum print mounted on the opposite album page has left traces of its image in the margins of this page; the print itself is unaffected. The reverse of the mount presents part of an ‘art’ photograph (an illustration of a hussar with his ladylove).
Dimensions: the print measures 4” by 5.6” (10.2 cm by 14.1 cm); the mount measures 4.7” by 8.2” (12 cm by 20.9 cm).
The Pither family of Long Sutton, 1863
A small albumen print showing a group of musicians, identified as the ‘Sutton Church Musicians’ in a period hand in the lower margin, underneath which their names are given. The sitters can easily be found on the 1861 census. All five of them were born in Long Sutton; the three older members of the family were thatchers by trade.
The portrait is dated 1863. When the photograph was taken, Stephen, seen here on the right, would have 57 years old (he died on 18 April 1886, at the age of 79); George, seen here in the centre, would have been 47 (he died on 20 July 1884, aged 70). The other sitters are George’s sons: Robert, aged 22, a thatcher like his father; Zenas, aged 14; and Amos, aged 13.
The dates of Stephen’s and George’s deaths are on tombstones in the churchyard at Long Sutton, Hampshire.
Condition: the print presents a couple of very small imperfections but is otherwise in excellent condition. The mount has yellowed a little with age along one edge but is otherwise crisp and clean. The reverse of the mount is blank.
Dimensions: the print measures 2.6” by 3.2” (6.5 cm by 8 cm). It is mounted on a slightly larger section of cut-down album page.
The Victoria Rifle Volunteers in London, 1864
An albumen print showing members of the 1st Middlesex (Victoria) Rifle Volunteers Corps enjoying a picnic with their wives.
Beginning in 1859, various Volunteer regiments were established in Britain in response to Napoléon III's aggressive foreign policy in Europe and the perceived threat of a French invasion.
An inked inscription in a period hand in the corner of the mount reads ‘Wilson's tent / Victoria Camp 1864.’
Condition: the print presents a few small imperfections in the area of the sky but is otherwise in excellent condition, with good tonal range. The bicoloured mount presents a small amount of foxing and one or two small stains but is otherwise crisp and clean. The reverse of the mount is blank.
Dimensions: the image measures 6.2" (15.7 cm) along its lower edge, and is 3.8" (9.7 cm) high in the centre of the image. The mount measures 8.1" by 10.7" (20.5 cm by 27.2 cm).
The School of Musketry at Hythe, circa 1860
An albumen print showing soldiers from different regiments at the School of Musketry at Hythe in Kent. An inked inscription in a period hand in the lower margin reads ‘School of Musketry Evening Class.’ Several other images in the same album were dated November 1860.
Established in 1853 by Lord Hardinge, the Hythe School of Musketry was charged with maintaining the proficiency of the army in the use of small arms, support weapons and range management. The Hythe Manual of Musketry Instruction, ironically a translation of an earlier French manual, quickly became the standard for all musketry training.
Verso presents a portrait of a handsome young officer serving in the 2nd (The Queen’s Royal) Regiment of Foot. A pencilled inscription identifies him as ‘Dicky Bird’ in inverted commas. An inked inscription gives his regiment and the location, which is Walmer. His clipped autograph is also pasted into the lower margin.
Condition: the print is in very fine condition, with excellent tonal range. The album page presents a couple of nicks at its edges and a short tear at its lower edge.
Description: the print measures 4.6” by 6i.7” (11.7 cm by 17.1 cm); the album page measures 11.4” by 9” (29 cm by 22.8 cm).
HMS Victory in Portsmouth Harbour
An albumen print showing a view of shipping in Portsmouth Harbour, including Lord Nelson’s famous flagship HMS Victory. Various watermen and their vessels can be seen in the foreground.
An inked inscription in a period hand in the lower margin identifies the location.
Built in 1765, the ship is best known for her role as Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805. In 1831 the Admiralty ordered her broken up but this produced such a public outcry that the order was held in abeyance. Civilian visitors were allowed aboard for tours until, by the middle of century, annual visitors exceeded 22,000 and the ship was becoming increasingly decrepit but she continued to rot at her moorings. After Sir Edward Seymour paid a visit in 1886 he later remembered ‘I could literally run my walking stick through her sides in many places.’ In 1921 a ‘Save The Victory’ campaign started and the following year she was moved to dry dock. Many years of restoration followed. These still continue to this day.
Condition: apart from a few small imperfections in the area of the sky, the print is in excellent condition, with very good tonal range. It is mounted on a slightly foxed section of cut-down album page.
Dimensions: the print measures 4” by 6.4” (10 cm by 16.3 cm); the mount measures 4.7” by 10” (12.1 cm by 25.3 cm).
A float advertising the wigmaker Willy Clarkson, circa 1905
An unmounted silver gelatin print showing a float advertising the famous perruquier and make-up artist Willy Clarkson. According to an article in The Era (10 November 1900), ‘Not to know Willy Clarkson and his doings is to be out of the theatrical world. […] Scarcely any big production in London is undertaken without the aid of the owner of the Wellington-street wiggeries.’
The business was founded by Clarkson’s father in 1833 and for many years it was located on Wellington Street in Covent Garden. Willy took over the firm at his father’s death in 1878, later moving its premises to Wardour Street in Soho. The foundation stone of the new building was laid by Sarah Bernhardt in 1904. Today the ground floor houses a Chinese restaurant.
Given that the Wardour Street address appears on the float seen here, the photograph was probably taken circa 1905-1910.
The float incorporates an enormous model of Admiral Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory. This has been mounted on a horse-drawn cart provided by Leolyn Hart, variously described as a pageant designer and a set designer. Some productions in the West End had sets by Leolyn Hart and wigs by Willy Clarkson.
The street sign in the background indicates that the location is Latona Road in Peckham, southeast London.
Condition: the photograph is in very good condition. It has been skimmed off an album page.
Dimensions: the print measures 4.4” by 6.2” (11.3 cm by 15.8 cm).
An unmounted albumen print showing a view of Hastings on the South Coast of England.
A pencilled inscription verso in a period hand reads: ‘Hastings, August 82.’
The photographer seems to have set up his camera on East Hill. Looking at Google Street View, the line of houses on the seafront appear to match those that today lie along East Parade in the eastern area now known as Hastings Old Town. Some of the Net Shops – tall black wooden sheds for storing fishing nets – can be seen in the foreground. The town’s pier, which opened on 5 August 1872, can be seen in the background.
Condition: the print presents a few small marks in the area of the sea and two diagonal creases at its upper right-hand corner. Its tonal range is excellent.
Dimensions: the print measures 4” by 6.7” (10 cm by 17.1 cm).
South Shields Pier, circa 1895
An unmounted albumen print showing a view of South Shields Pier in northeast England.
Construction of the pier began in 1854 but due to a series of ferocious storms, work was not completed until 1895. Judging by the silhouettes and hats of the women walking along the pier, the photograph was taken shorty after work was completed.
Condition: the print presents a few small marks in the area of the sky and a small crease at its upper right-hand corner; there is in addition a very small tear low down on its left-hand edge. It is otherwise in fine condition, with good tonal range.
Dimensions: the print measures 5.9” by 7.9” (|14.9 cm by 20.2 cm).
Cromer Pier, circa 1885
An albumen print showing the view from Cromer Pier looking back towards the town on the north coast of the English county of Norfolk.
The old wooden structure seen here was replaced by the current pier in 1902.
The large building opposite the entrance to the pier is the oddly named Hotel de Paris, originally built in 1830 by the émigré Pierre le Françoise, then later enlarged around the middle of the century by subsequent owners Henry Jarvis and his son Alex. The hotel which stands on the site today is the result of a redesign in the 1890s.
Several of the other buildings seen in the photograph are almost unchanged today, including the enormous Perpendicular tower of the town’s parish church, Saint Peter and Saint Paul, the highest church tower in Norfolk.
Condition: the print presents a small amount of cockling in the area of the sky but is otherwise in excellent condition, with very good tonal range. It is mounted on a thin paper album page with a ragged left-hand edge. The reverse of the album page presents a small engraving of Cromer Hall, with the town in the distance, and two newspaper clippings of local interest.
Dimensions: at its widest points the print measures 5.8” by 7.4” (14.9 cm by 18.7 cm); the mount measures
Eastbourne, circa 1885
Photographed by Francis Frith and Co.
An albumen print showing a view of the Grand Parade at Eastbourne, with numerous pedestrians taking the sea air on a sunny day. The Burlington Hotel, seen here on the far right, is still in business today.
Photographed by Francis Frith and Co.
Born in 1822 at Chesterfield in Derbyshire, Francis Frith began his working life as a grocer. He made his reputation as a photographer with the work he produced on trips to Egypt, Syria and Palestine during the 1850s. He subsequently established a business as a photographic publisher. Located at Reigate in Surrey, it became the largest firm of its kind in the world. During the 1860s he embarked on a project to photograph every town and village of interest in the United Kingdom. At first, he took all the photographs himself but as the business grew he employed assistants to travel on his behalf. Once postcards became popular towards the end of the century, many of his views were reissued in the new popular format.
Condition: the print presents a couple of small, pale grey marks in the area of the sky but is otherwise in excellent condition, with very good tonal range. It is mounted on a clean, stiff album page, which has one slightly chipped corner and a small nick in its upper edge. Another print has been very neatly skimmed off the reverse of the album page by a professional conservator.
Dimensions: the print measures 7.5” by 11.3” (19 cm by 28.8 cm); the album page measures 9.7” by 13.5” (24.7 cm by 34.3 cm).
Worthing, circa 1880
An albumen print showing a view of Marine Parade in Worthing on the Sussex coast. The Italianate houses on the left are still there today and externally little altered, although their balconies are no longer enclosed. The block stands on the seafront between Montague Place and Bath Place. The spot where the photographer positioned himself to take this photograph is now the site of an enormous Ferris wheel known as the Worthing Observation Wheel.
Photographer unidentified, but probably by one of the staff photographers working for Francis Frith. Numbered 25596 in the negative.
Condition: the print is in excellent condition, with very good tonal range. It is mount on a clean, stiff album page which presents one small nick in its upper edge. Two photographs have been very neatly and professionally skimmed off the reverse of the album page.
Dimensions: the print measures 7.5” by 11.3” (19.1 cm by 28.6 cm); the album page measures 9.6” by 13.5” (24.4 cm by 34.3 cm).
Lincoln High Street, circa 1880
George Washington Wilson
An albumen print showing a view of the High Street in Lincoln. The scene is full of life and detail, with many pedestrians going about their business and much signage visible on the various businesses. Apart from Stonebow Gate and the Cathedral looming over the town in the background, the area is unrecognisable today. The High Bridge Obelisk, seen here at the centre of the view, was removed in 1936 due to concerns about its weight but was reconstructed in 1996 outside the former Lincoln St Mark’s Railway Station.
Photographed by George Washington Wilson of Aberdeen. Like his contemporary Francis Frith, from the 1860s onwards Wilson specialised increasingly in topographical views of the United Kingdom, eventually becoming one of the largest publishers of photographs in the world. Many of these were taken by staff photographers or commissioned from local studios. In the 1890s views from as far afield as South Africa and Australia were added to the firm’s stock.
Condition: the print presents some cloudiness towards its right-hand edge and there are a few imperfections in the area of the sky, including a small patch of foxing in the area near the cathedral’s tower. Otherwise, the print is in fine condition, with excellent tonal range. It is mounted on a trimmed album page; the reverse carries a similarly sized view of the east front of Lincoln Cathedral.
Dimensions: the print measures 7.4” by 11.6” (18.8 cm by 29.5 cm); the mount measures 8” by 12.2” (20.5 cm by 31.1 cm).
Nottingham Castle Rock, circa 1880
An albumen print of Castle Rock in Nottingham, showing the River Leen in the foreground and the ruins of the Duke of Newcastle’s mansion perched on the top of the rock. Completed in 1679, the building had already fallen into disrepair when it was fired by an angry mob in 1831 in the riots following the rejection of the Reform Bill. For over 40 years its blackened shell looked down on the town but during the 1870s it was restored by the Town Council as a museum and art gallery. It was opened by the Prince and Princess of Wales on 3 July 1878.
The charm of the image lies in the photographer’s inclusion of a local resident on the riverbank, seated on the edge of a wheelbarrow, while a woman, presumably his wife, watches from a doorway.
Condition: the print presents a few small marks and imperfections in the area of the sky near the upper edge of the image; it is otherwise in excellent condition, with very good tonal range. It is mounted on a clean, stiff album page which has been professionally spilt from its reverse side.
Dimensions: the print measures 8.3” by 10.7” (21.2 cm by 27.2 cm); the mount measures 9.7 cm by 12.4” (24.8 cm by 31.4 cm).
Upwey in Dorset, circa 1870
An albumen print view of the village of Upwey in Dorset, showing St Laurence’s Church and its graveyard. Much of the church dates from the late 15th century, although earlier fragments have survived. Today the village is a suburb of Weymouth, located 4 miles north of the town centre.
A calèche and driver in the foreground add human interest to the composition.
The photographer is unidentified but the negative number 8058 identifies the photograph as the work of Francis Frith.
Condition: both the print and the mount are in excellent condition, the print having particularly good tonal range. An inked inscription in the lower margin in a 20th-century hand identifies the location. The print is mounted on a clean, stiff section of album page. The reverse of the mount carries an albumen print showing some wooden steps leading down a cliff to a beach.
Dimensions: the print measures 6.1” by 8.2” (15.7 cm by 20.8 cm); the mount measures 7.3” by 9.6” (18.7 cm by 24.3 cm).
The Wishing Well at Upwey, circa 1880
Francis Frith (attr.)
An albumen print showing two young girls at the Wishing Well in Upwey, Dorset. A natural spring rather than a well, it is the source of the River Wey, which flows from Upwey to Weymouth five miles downstream. The site was a tourist attraction as far back as the 18th century. Legend has it that the seat seen here behind the two girls was built for King George III.
Photographer unidentified, but probably by Francis Frith judging by the negative number (27325).
Condition: the print has rich, satisfying tones but the original negative had sustained some damage to its lower right-hand corner at some point prior to the issue of this particular print. The repair can be seen as a large arc across the corner. The print is mounted on a clean, stiff album page that has been slightly trimmed. An inked inscription in a period hand identifies the location in the lower margin. The reverse of the page once carried a view of Weymouth but this has been professionally and very neatly skimmed off the page.
Dimensions: the print measures 7.6” by 11.4” (19.2 cm by 29 cm); the mount measures 9.5” by 13.1” (24.3 cm by 33.2 cm).
Lytham Market Hall in the snow, circa 1880
An albumen print showing a view of the red brick and sandstone Market Hall at Lytham St Anne’s in Lancashire.
Designed by architect Charles Reed of Liverpool, the hall was built in 1848 to replace an open-air fish market. The clock tower was donated in 1868 by Lady Eleanor Cecily Clifton. As the market started to decline towards the end of the century, enclosed shops were created. Today the building houses a bank, shops and offices.
A perennial problem for the photographer working out of doors was the gang of children who would invariably gather to watch him at work, usually standing somewhere between the camera and the object he intended to photograph. This canny operator has solved the problem by incorporating the offending children into his composition.
Condition: the print presents a few small imperfections in the area of the sky but is otherwise in excellent condition, with very good tonal range. It is mounted on a clean, stiff album page (with a small amount of faint foxing in its upper margin) that has been professionally split from its reverse side.
Dimensions: the print measures 8.4” by 10.5” (21.5 cm by 26.8 cm); the mount measures 9.4” by 11” (23.8 cm by 28 cm).
Winter scene, circa 1890
An albumen print showing a man with a horse and cart on a snow-covered country lane lined with trees.
Photographer and location unidentified.
Condition: the print presents some loss of tone at its left and right edges but is otherwise in fine condition, with good tonal range. It is mounted on an album page that presents one chipped corner and some light foxing in its margins. The album page has been professional split from its reverse side.
Dimensions: the print measures 9.3” by 7.7” (23.7 cm by 19.6 cm); the mount measures 10.3” by 14.1” (26.2 cm by 35.8 cm).
A tree in winter, circa 1890
An albumen print showing a leafless tree in winter with what appears to be two families posing in its branches and around its trunk. At least one man and two boys have climbed up into the tree, while two women have stayed below with the smaller children.
Photographer and location unidentified.
Condition: some of the glue that was used to fix the print to the mount is showing through in the area of sky but this could easily be cropped out if the photograph were matted and framed. The rest of the print is in excellent condition with very good tonal range. It is mounted on a cut-down section of album page, with a thin dark red border around the print. The mount has been neatly separated from its reverse side by a professional conservator.
Dimensions: the print measures 7” by 4.7” (17.7 cm by 11.9 cm); the mount measures 9.2” by 6.3” (23.4 cm by 16 cm).
Rustic scene, circa 1865
An unmounted albumen print showing a pretty girl standing by the entrance to a rustic cottage. A man is leaning over a gate behind her, while two further people watch from the doorway of the house.
Photographer and location unidentified.
Condition: the print has been skimmed off an album page and this has resulted in a small hole in the area of the sky. In addition, there is some slight yellowing towards the upper edge of the image. The print is otherwise in fine condition, with good tonal range.
Dimensions: the print has an arched top; at its widest, it measures 8” by 6.1” (20.3 cm by 15.6 cm).
Magdalen College Tower, 1856
Philip Henry Delamotte (attr.)
An albumen print view of Magdalen College Tower at Oxford, showing the tower and garden of the college, with a young man lying on the grass, his head resting on his hand and his jauntily placed top hat shading his eyes.
A pencilled inscription recto in the lower margin in a period hand reads: ‘Magdalen Tower Oxford.’ A printed label verso gives the full title: ‘Magdalene [sic] College Tower, from the River Cherwell, Oxford.’ This exactly matches in every particular – including the spelling mistake – the title of a work listed in Roger Taylor’s Photographs Exhibited in Britain 1839-1865: A Compendium of Photographers and Their Works (National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives, Occasional Paper No 5, published 2002). It was exhibited by Philip Henry Delamotte at the London Photographic Society Exhibition of 1857, held at the beginning of that year at the Gallery of the Society of Water Colour Painters, 5 Pall Mall East, London. Delamotte exhibited 21 other works in the exhibition, the majority of them views of Oxford and its colleges. This one was numbered 289 in the exhibition catalogue.
The same photographs had been exhibited the previous month (December 1856) at the Art Manufacture Association. One reviewer claimed that there was some ‘unavoidable distortion’ of the buildings but that ‘[t]hese pictures are, however, remarkable for artistic composition, fine definition, and judicious balance of light and shade’ (Norfolk News, 13 December 1856).
According to an advertisement in The Times (6 March 1857), a set of 40 ‘Photographic Views of Oxford’ by P.H. Delamotte were available as a set in a portfolio for £8 8s or individually priced at 5s each.
The British photographer and illustrator Philip Henry Delamotte (1821-1889) was a Professor of Drawing at King’s College, London. He first gained attention as a photographer for his series of photographs of the dismantling of the Crystal Palace in 1852 and its subsequent reassembly at Sydenham, a project he completed in 1854.
Condition: the print presents a few small imperfections in the area of the sky and a loss of colour at its upper left-hand corner but is otherwise in excellent condition, with very good tonal range. It is mounted on a large sheet of stiff, firm card; this presents a few marks verso, caused by mounting on a secondary support, but is otherwise very clean.
Dimensions: the print measures 8.3” by 6.5” (21.1 cm by 16.4 cm); the mount measures 17.8” by 13.7” (45.3 cm by 35 cm).
'The Mill Stream at Salwarpe,' circa 1880
T.W. or W.T.
A large, warm toned albumen print showing a view of the Mill Stream at Salwarpe in Worcestershire, with three figures arranged within the landscape, including a girl in a picturesque hat collecting water at the edge of the stream.
The print is matted up for exhibition and has been captioned ‘The Mill Stream, Salwarpe’ in capitals in the lower margin, where the initials T.W. or W.T. also appear, presumably identifying the photographer. The subject matter and the mode of mounting suggest that this was an amateur photographer’s artistic endeavour and that the print was at some point exhibited. It should therefore be possible to trace its author.
Condition: the print presents a few small imperfections but is otherwise in excellent condition. It is matted between two sheets of solid, pale brown Bristol board, from which it cannot be removed. The mount has received some chips and damage, most noticeably at its lower edge.
Dimensions: the visible part of the print measures 11.2” by 14.5” (28.4 cm by 36.8 cm); the mount measures 14.9” by 18.3” (38 cm by 46.8 cm).
Fisherman, circa 1910
A matt silver gelatin print showing fishermen and their boat. The image is suffused with a sense of stillness and a deep nostalgia for a vanishing world.
Photographer and location unidentified.
Condition: the print presents a dark horizontal line in the area towards its lower right-hand corner but is otherwise in very fine condition. It is mounted on a piece of stiff, firm card of the same dimensions; this presents some foxing verso.
Dimensions: print and mount measure 6.9” by 4.6” (17.5 cm by 11.7 cm).
On the Avon near Bath, circa 1920
James Hill of Bristol
A toned silver print showing an agricultural worker and a horse walking along a path beside the Avon River near Bath. A pencilled inscription verso in the photographer’s hand identifies the location.
James Hill of Bristol was an amateur photographer. According to Ian Sumner, ‘Many of [his] high quality silver prints are either contact prints or enlargements on heavy-weight bromide papers using a wide variety of finishes and tones. […] Some prints were made in carbon; silver prints were often gold or sulphide toned. He made full use of the wide range of papers available in the early part of the 20th century from many different makers with a variety of finish and weight, the majority warm toned. Manufacturers and paper types include: Granville, Illingworth, Kaltona, Kodak Royal, Pall Mall, Reynolds, Wellington and Ward.’
He was probably the Sidney James Hill who died on 5 March 1928. A short obituary appeared in the Western Daily Press (8 March 1938): ‘The death is announced of Mr Sidney James Hill, of Upper Belgrave Road, Clifton, at the age of 84. Mr Hill was managing director for many years of Messrs James Hill and Sons, Ltd., milliners, of Union Street, Bristol, and he had been in the business nearly 70 years, his father and brother also being with the firm during that time. He was a keen member of the Bristol and West of England Photographic Club.’
Born in Bristol in 1853, he appears on the 1911 census living in Redland, Bristol, with his wife Emily Frances Hill, three sons, two daughters and two servants. He gave as his profession ‘Wholesale & Retail Milliner (Dealer).’According to the 1871 census, his father, also James Hill, was a ‘Straw Hat Manufacturer.’
Condition: the print is in excellent condition. The photograph has been printed on heavy-weight, textured photographic paper. Four small deposits of black paper verso at the corners indicate that it was once mounted on a secondary support.
Dimensions: the print measures 5.1” by 9” (13 cm by 23 cm).
A vintage gelatin silver print showing a view of a street of nineteenth-century housing in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The photograph was taken in 1936; this print was issued circa 1960.
Manuscript inscriptions verso read : ‘Northumberland Newcastle’ in ink and ‘Wealth p. 242-3’ in two shades of pencil. A small paper label printed in red reads: ‘England, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.’
Photographed by Edwin Smith, identified by his wetstamp verso.
The photographer Edwin Smith (1912-1971) was noted for his sensitive evocation of place. The poet and architectural historian Sir John Betjeman hailed him as a ‘genius at photography’ due to his ability to make the ordinary rich and astonishing. An exhibition titled ‘Ordinary Beauty: The Photography of Edwin Smith’ was held at RIBA in London from September to December 2014.
RIBA holds an archive of 60,000 negatives by Smith. According to their website, he was ‘one of Britain’s finest photographers. […] The recurrent themes of his work – a concern for the fragility of the environment, an acute appreciation of the need to combat cultural standardization by safeguarding regional diversity, and a conviction that architecture should be rooted in time and place – are as pressing today as when Smith first framed them in his elegant compositions.’
According to a review of the RIBA exhibition by Owen Hopkins in Apollo: The International Art Magazine (30 September 2014, available online), ‘There is a haunting feel to many of the photographs; people are almost always absent from the scenes, but a human presence is seemingly inescapable. […] The sense, though, is that those people are not coming back, that even when the photographs were taken, these were scenes of a world that was already lost.’
For a far fuller assessment of Smith’s work see ‘Edwin Smith: A Genius Rediscovered’ by Robert Elwall on Alan Griffiths’ always informative website Luminous Lint.
Condition: the print presents a few faint imperfections in the area of the sky but is otherwise in excellent condition. It is has a very narrow white border at its upper edge and a wider one at its lower. It is unmounted.
Dimensions: the image measures 7.1” by 9.9” (18.2 cm by 25.2 cm).