Derbyshire Photographers & Photographic Studios
or go to the Photographers' Profiles
& Photographic Studios 
in Derbyshire, England

by Brett Payne, of Tauranga, New Zealand

with an Introduction to the early history of photography in England and Derbyshire kindly written by David Simkin, who has his own excellent web site: Brighton Photographers 1841-1910.

This ongoing study of 19th- and early to mid-20th Century Derbyshire studio photographers includes an index, with their known dates of operation, as well as profiles of selected studios.  Genealogists and family historians will hopefully find it a useful tool for dating old family photographs.

Check the Index of Derbyshire photographers to find out when and where a particular studio operated.  Click on the initial of a photographer's surname (at left) to browse the index.  For more precise dating, try the Photographers' Profiles, which include examples of selected photographers' work.  You are welcome to contribute images of your own family photos to this site.

STATISTICS: After roughly six years, the index now includes approximately 493 different photographers and studios, while detailed profiles of over a third of them (196 photographers) have been compiled.  Information and images have been received from 203 contributors, in every corner of the world, to whom I am very grateful.


17 December 2008

Additional photos and information or new profiles for: Frederick Barber of Sheffield & Matlock Bank, B.W. Bentley of Buxton, William Bentley of Buxton, J.R. Board of Buxton, W.P. Booth of Eckington & Worksop, B.W. Botham of Derby, Matlock & Brighton, F.J. Boyes of Derby, Charles C. Bradshaw of Bakewell & Manchester, James Brennen of Derby, Britannia's Electric Portraits of Chesterfield & Ilkeston, Robert & Robert Bull of Ashbourne, John Burton & Sons of Leicester, Birmingham & Derby, Levi Cartwright of Hillstown, Scarcliffe, Charles F. Dalton of Chesterfield, Chesterfield Studios of Chesterfield, Diana Studios of Derby, Wallace Fidler of Chesterfield, J.H. Gaunt of Chesterfield, Gervase Gibson & Sons of Nottingham & Derby, Pollard Graham of Derby, Alfred Greenwood of Chesterfield, E.R. Gyde of Aberystwyth & Derby, H.P. Hansen of Ashbourne, A.T. Harpur of Derby, Albert Heath of Clay Cross, J.J. Hobbiss of Leeds & Buxton, William Housley of Bakewell, William Alfred Hudson of Chapel-en-le-Frith, R.F. Hunter of Buxton, William Johnson & Arthur Farnsworth of Long Eaton, Thomas Frost of Derby, R.F. Hunter of Buxton, Jerome Limited of Derby, Richard Keene Junr. of Derby & Burton-on-Trent, D.C. Latham of Buxton, Laurence Studios of Leicester, Derby et al., Pat Laurie of Derby, G.S. Ledsham of Buxton, Rudolf Leonhardt of Eckington, Nottingham & Leicester, William Leuchars of Chesterfield, Henry Lord of Huddersfield & Buxton, Edward Martin of Melbourne, Walter Mayell of Melbourne, William Milton of Derby, The Portland Photo Co. of Derby, Alfred Rippon of Chesterfield, George Renwick of Burton-on-Trent, John Roberts of Derby, Thomas Roberts of Derby, F.W. & S.E. Robinson of Long Eaton, J. & J.S. Simnett of Burton-on-Trent, Edward Smith of Derby, John Stringfellow of Chesterfield & Sheffield, C.S. Swift of Derby, G.H. Swift of Chapel-en-le-Frith, E.M. Treble of Derby, Paul Turner of Chesterfield, Bernard Warner of Chesterfield, John Alfred Warwick of Derby, George White of Liverpool & Chesterfield, Samuel Whiting of Chesterfield and Levi Yeomans of Derby.
Many thanks to the following for new contributions: Diane Hicklin, David Lamb, Paul Clarke, Lynne Tedder, Valerie Bailey, Sandy Barrie, Brenda Croome, Bill Addy, Ann Taylor, Roger Vaughan, Ian Leith, Michael Pritchard, Hilary Booth, Jeri Bass, Barbara Ellison, Cynthia Maddock, Dick Hudson, Picture the Past, Mike Briggs, Gail Durbin, Nigel Aspdin, Terry Nolan, John Bradley

Other sections on this site:
Temporary Working Pages: Page 1 | Page 2
Miscellaneous Photographs
Victorian & Edwardian Portrait Photo Collection

... and if you're interested in old photographs, visit Photo-Sleuth, my irregular series of articles about old photographs, photographers and their subjects


Introduction - A Background to Studio Photography in England

Richard Beard, a successful coal merchant, and patent speculator, opened England’s first photographic portrait studio in London on 23rd March 1841.  Beard had recognised the advantages of securing a monopoly in the production of daguerreotype portraits in England.  In June 1841, he concluded negotiations with Miles Berry, Louis Daguerre’s patent agent in England, and purchased the patent rights to the daguerreotype process.  By the end of July 1841, Richard Beard had become the sole patentee of the daguerreotype process in England and Wales, and thus had a virtual monopoly in the production of photographic portraits using Daguerre’s method.

Until the patent rights of British Patent No 8194 expired on 14th August 1853, any person who wanted to legally carry out the art of daguerreotype portrait photography on a commercial basis had to apply to Richard Beard, to either purchase the right of patent in a prescribed geographical area or to purchase a licence to work the process in a particular town or city.

In June 1841, Richard Beard claimed to have “disposed of licences for Liverpool, Brighton, Bristol, Bath, Cheltenham and Plymouth”.  The first provincial photographic studio in England was opened on 31st July 1841 at Plymouth.  Over the next five months licensed daguerreotype studios appeared in Bristol, Cheltenham, Liverpool, Nottingham, Brighton, Bath and Manchester.

Edward Holland's Agreement with Richard Beard

On 9 November 1842, John Johnson (1813-1871) an American daguerreotypist and associate of Richard Beard obtained the patent rights for the daguerreotype process for the counties of Lancashire, Cheshire and Derbyshire.

On 10 November 1842, Edward Holland obtained a licence from Richard Beard to use the daguerreotype process in certain specific parts of Yorkshire and Derbyshire.  Under the agreement, Holland was to pay Beard a total sum of £500, made up of an initial payment of £200 and two further instalments of £150 each.  In return, Holland was granted "the exclusive licence power and privilege within districts, towns and places in several counties of York and Derby therein after mentioned i.e. the whole of a certain district situated in the County of York ... and also within the several towns of Buxton and Bakewell in the County of Derby." [Indenture, dated 10 November 1842]

Under the terms of the agreement, Beard was to supply Holland with "frame cases and metallic plates and other apparatus" necessary for the making of daguerreotypes.  In addition to the licence fee of £500, Holland was also required to pay to Beard, 15% of all his takings from the sale of daguerreotype portraits.

Edward Holland is the first recorded example of an itinerant photographer.  He intended to travel across Yorkshire and Derbyshire, setting up temporary studios in various places.  After making the down payment of £200, Holland made daguerreotype portraits at Doncaster Race Course, Bradford and Halifax, but he experienced difficulty in paying the remainder of the licence fee.  In July 1843, Richard Beard began legal proceedings against Holland to recover the outstanding £300 and he was forced to abandon his photographic career before he even reached Derbyshire. [Court of Chancery Proceedings, Beard v Holland 1843]. 

The First Derby Daguerrotypists : 1842-1844

In the summer of 1843, John Johnson operated a temporary daguerreotype portrait studio in Victoria Street, next to the Athenaeum [Derbyshire Courier, 8 July 1843, page 2, col 7], although by around September he had moved on to set up another studio in Blackpool.  In February 1844, an un-named photographer was operating a daguerreotype studio in Victoria Street, Derby [Derby Mercury, 28 February 1844, page 2, col 3], and was still in business the following month.  By September 1844, however, Thomas Roberts announced that he had acquired the daguerreotype licence for Derbyshire and would be taking portraits at Johnson's former studio in Victoria Street [Derby Mercury, 25 September 1844, page 2, col 6].  He continued as a daguerreotype artist for the next 12 months, but later concentrated more on his bookselling business.

Early Derby Studio Photographers : 1854-1857

The end of Beard's daguerreotype patent in August 1853 and the introduction of Archer's "patent free" wet collodion process at around the same time resulted in an explosion of photographic activity in Derbyshire.

  • James Brennan arrived in Derby around 1854 and established a daguerreotype portrait gallery at 14 Irongate [History of the Derby Photographic Society by F E Birks (1934), pp. 3].  Brennan's studio continued in Derby  for over 40 years.
  • Edmund Stowe was listed as a photographic artist at 9 Victoria Terrace, Macklin Street, Derby in Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire (1855, probably compiled by December 1854 ) but by August 1855 he had moved on to Hereford.
  • Richard Smith advertised his photographic studio at 2 Regent Street, Derby  in August 1855 [Derby Telegraph, 25 August 1855, page 1, col 3] and two years later he was still taking portraits in Derby [White's 1857 Trade Directory].
  • William Seville, a silhouette artist from Manchester, established a photographic studio at 51 St Peter's Street, Derby [Derby Mercury, 12th  September 1855, page 4, col 6] and remained in Derby for a couple of years.
  • James Wilson operated from a studio in Morledge, Derby [Derby Telegraph, 22 September 1855, page 1, col 4].
  • The partnership of Charles & Morris established a studio in Station Street, Derby in 1855 [Derby Telegraph, 24 November 1855, page 1, col 5].  One of the partners, Emmanuel Nicolas Charles, continued as a photographer in Midland Road, Derby for the next ten years.
  • Thomas Roberts had returned to photography by 1857, establishing a studio in Oakes Yard [White's 1857 Trade Directory].

A Faithful Likeness - The First Photographic Portrait Studios in the British Isles, 1841 to 1855, by Bernard & Pauline Heathcote, publ. by the authors, 2002
The Victorians: Photographic Portraits, by Audrey Linkman, publ. by Tauris Parke, 1993
The Daguerreotype in England: Some Primary Material Relating to Beard’s Lawsuits, by R. Derek Wood, in History of Photography, October 1979, Vol. 3, No. 4, pp. 305-9.
History of the Derby Photographic Society, by F E Birks, 1934.

All original newspaper sources and much of the other content were taken from "A Faithful Likeness".  It is a magnificent piece of research and anyone interested in the early history of photography in the British Isles should consult the Heathcotes' book.  Copies are available from Bernard & Pauline Heathcote, 27 Plough Lane, Lowdham, Nottinghamshire, NG14 7AT, England.

by David Simkin
Brighton, Sussex, England
Brighton Photographers 1841-1910
David has made a special study of photographers active in Sussex during Victorian and Edwardian times, and is happy to respond to enquiries related to studios in East and West Sussex.  Please contact him via his web site or email him directly.

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