Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Spotlight Photos Ltd. – “Walking pictures” in Derby

I’ve been corresponding recently with Simon Robinson, who got in touch regarding an article that I wrote about sidewalk or street photographers in March last year.


Simon is working on a book devoted to “walking pictures,” a style or specialization of street photography which flourished from the 1920s until the 1950s, and then largely disappeared during the 1960s.  An introduction to the book project is provided at Easy on the Eye Books, as well as information about a potential museum exhibition at an East Coast resort.

Much of the collection that he has assembled was purchased at fairs, and identification of or background to the subjects has usually been lost.  He is therefore welcoming contributions of material which has something of a story attached for possible inclusion in the book.  Some of the images collected and donated so far are shared in Simon’s Flickr Photostream.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne
Charles Vincent Payne
Postcard format "walking picture" taken c.1932
Image © and collection of Brett Payne
If you have any photographs in your collection that you think may be of interest, and that you would like to share, please do get in touch with Simon.  I have sent him several for consideration, some of which I posted in my previous article.  The unusual example illustrated above, however, is one of my great-grandfather Charles Vincent Payne (1868-1941) that I unearthed more recently from my family collection.

Image © and courtesy of Gail Godfrey

George Raymond Meadows (1914-2000)
with “Walkie” camera at Great Yarmouth, Norfolk
Image © and courtesy of Gail Godfrey

According to Paul Godfrey, who has an excellent web site devoted to seaside photography, this type of “walkie” was produced using converted Royal Navy 35mm cine cameras from the First World War, such as that being operated by his father-in-law George Meadows at Great Yarmouth, shown above, some time between 1946 and 1953.  In this case, the strip of three shots were printed in postcard format with the sprocket perforations showing, although Paul notes that other operators, such as Barker’s of Great Yarmouth, tended to mask them off.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne
Reverse of Postcard format "walking picture," c.1930s
Spotlight Photos Ltd. Regd. No. 728037
Image © and collection of Brett Payne

The reverse shows that it was taken by Spotlight Photos Ltd.  A location is not given, but Simon directed me to two very similar images, also by Spotlight, from the Derby Museum & Art Gallery reproduced on Picture the Past, for which the locations are identified.  Both were taken in Derby, close to St. Peter’s Bridge, the point at which the Corn Market, Albert Street, St Peter’s Street and Victoria Street all meet.

“Mum in St Peter’s Street,” Derby (A) 
Taken by Spotlight Photos Ltd, July 1929
Image © Derby Museum & Art Gallery & courtesy of Picture the Past

Although captioned “Mum in St Peter’s Street,” the first was actually taken in the Corn Market, facing north, with the subject walking south towards the Victoria Street intersection.

Image © and courtesy of W.W. Winter Ltd.
Corn Market, from St Peter’s Bridge, Derby 
taken by W.W. Winter Ltd., c.1928
Image © W.W. Winter Ltd.

This exact location can be accurately pinpointed since the jeweller’s shop of H. Samuels is clearly visible on the far right, also captured (below the clock) in this c.1928 view of the same street, taken by W.W. Winter Ltd.

Unidentified subjects, St Peter’s Street, Derby (B) 
Taken by Spotlight Photos Ltd
Image © Derby Museum & Art Gallery & courtesy of Picture the Past

The second example includes several people, but focuses on a man with hat, cane and plus-fours, and with an eye on the camera, striding purposefully southwards down St Peter’s Street, at the junction with Albert Street.  There is also a woman, possibly pregnant, carrying a shopping bag, waiting to cross the road and, in the background, a Trent bus going past.

Image © and courtesy of W.W. Winter Ltd.
Corn Market, from St Peter’s Bridge
by W.W. Winter Ltd., c.1925
Image © W.W. Winter Ltd.
Again, it can be accurately located from a sign on a storefront, in this case Jefferson’s, a firm of drapers located on the corner of the Corn Market and Albert Street.  The c.1925 view by Winter shown above provides a view of Jefferson’s slightly to the left of that seen in the Spotlight walkie, and includes a view down the Corn Market, with H. Samuels’ trademark clock just visible in the background.

Image © 2010 Brett Payne
Junction of Corn Market, Albert Street, St. Peter’s Street & Victoria Street, Derby, with Spotlight photo locations (A & B)

The locations of the camera, buildings used for identification (green) and fields of view (pink) for these two photographs are shown on the street map above (clicking the image will bring up a larger view).

Image © and collection of Brett Payne Charles Vincent Payne (C)
Detail of "walking picture," Victoria Street, Derby 
Image © and collection of Brett Payne

Nigel Aspdin, with his excellent knowledge of historical and present day Derby, didn’t take long to come up with a precise location for the walkie of my great-grandfather.  He is walking in a south-easterly direction along Victoria Street, on the pavement in front of the Post Office Hotel, the characteristic entrance to which can be seen on the right of both the walkie and the c.1926 view below by W.W. Winter Ltd.
Image © and courtesy of W.W. Winter Ltd. Victoria Street & Wardwick, Derby
by W.W. Winter Ltd., c.1926
Image © W.W. Winter Ltd.
In the background of the walkie it is possible to make out the awnings and shop windows on the ground floor of the Refuge Assurance Company building, and behind that the Mechanics’ Institiute, both of which are on Wardwick and shown in the image above, although the former are slightly obscured by the tram shelter in the middle of Victoria Street.
Image © and courtesy of W.W. Winter Ltd. Flooded Wardwick and a Trent bus, Derby 
by F.W. Scarratt, 22 May 1932
Careful examination of the walkie also shows two signboards protruding from the Mechanics’ Institute building, somewhere just above head height.  Nigel found an accurately dated postcard by Frank Scarratt recording the memorable effects of the May 1932 flooding in the Wardwick, and this, too, shows the protruding signboards which were not present in the earlier (c.1926) photo.

Image © 2010 Brett Payne
Junction of Wardwick & Victoria Street, Derby,
with Spotlight photo location (C)

It is therefore possible to reconstruct the exact location of the walkie, using the Post Office Hotel, Refuge Assurance building and Mechanics’ Institute as markers.  Again, the area marked in pink is the approximate field of view seen in the photograph.

Image © and courtesy of Nigel Aspdin A view of Victoria Street & Wardwick, 18 July 2010
Image © and courtesy of Nigel Aspdin

A present day view of the same scene, as shown in this photograph by Nigel Aspdin, has the same buildings by and large, albeit with somewhat different shop fronts.

Image © 2010 Brett Payne
Spotlight Photo Ltd. walking photo locations in Derby

As the plan above demonstrates, all three of the Spotlight walkies were taken with 150 metres of each other.  Until we have a larger range of examples to work with, we can’t assume that the photographer only worked in this small area, but it was, and still is, a busy part of town.  The negative numbers are not very easy to decipher with certainty, but if my interpretation is correct, then they were taken in the order B (#3936), A (#7350), C(#9978).

If any readers have street photographs – or walking pictures – by Spotlight Studios Ltd., I would be keen to hear from you, particularly if the photos are identifiable as having been taken in Derby.


Low resolution images from the two volumes of The Winter’s Collection have been reproduced with the kind permission of W.W. Winter Ltd.  High quality reproductions of these and many other historic images are available from W.W. Winter Ltd.

Many thanks to Simon Robinson and Paul Godfrey for so readily sharing information about street photographers and material from their collections, and to Nigel Aspdin for his detective work and photography around Derby.


Anon (n.d.) Old Ordnance Survey Maps: Derby (North) 1899, Derbyshire Sheet 50.9 (orig. OS Sheet L.9), Newcastle upon Tyne: Alan Godfrey Maps.

Anon (n.d.) Old Ordnance Survey Maps: Derby (South) 1899, Derbyshire Sheet 50.13 (orig. OS Sheet L.13), Newcastle upon Tyne: Alan Godfrey Maps.

Craven, Maxwell (ed.) (1992) The Winter’s Collection of Derby, Derby: Breedon Books, 208pp.

Craven, Maxwell (ed.) (1996) The Winter’s Collection of Derby, Volume Two, Derby: Breedon Books, 192pp.

Scarratt, Francis William & Jewell, Rod (1995) Yesterday’s Derby and Its Districts: Through the Lens of F.W. Scarratt, Derby: Breedon Books, 208pp.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

The Clarke, Bloor and Disney families of Derby

Image © and collection of Brett Payne Image © and collection of Brett Payne
Frederica Eliza Clarke and Frederica Muriel Clarke
Cabinet portraits taken c.1885-86 and c.1886-88
at the studio of W.W. Winter of Derby
Images © and collection of Brett Payne [1,2]
The young woman and child shown in the two cabinet cards from the studio of W.W. Winter, both of which featured in my previous post here on Photo-Sleuth, are identified sufficiently on the reverse to deduce who they are: Frederica Eliza Clarke née Disney (1857-1939) and her eldest daughter Frederica Muriel Clarke (b. 1883).
Badge of the Somerset Herald
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Frederica Eliza Disney was born in early 1857 at Lambeth or Brixton in Surrey, where her father Henry Cathrow Disney (1826-1896) worked as a customs clerk.  Henry was, in turn, the eldest son of James Cathrow (c.1792-1854), who had taken on the surname of Disney during his four decade-long tenure as Somerset Herald, an officer of arms at the College of Arms in London and member of the Royal Household [3,4].  Two years after the death of his father, Henry had married Emily Evans from Cardiganshire, and after Frederica, they were to have a further three sons: Henry Charles Cathrow Disney (1858-1906), James Cathrow Disney (1860-1934) and Charles Cathrow Disney (1867-1941). (5,6)

Image © and courtesy of Picture the Past
Morley Park Ironworks, c.1870s
Unknown photographer
Image © and courtesy of Picture the Past [7]

Some time between April 1861 [8] and April 1863 [9], Henry Cathrow Disney became the proprietor of the Morley Park Ironworks near Belper in Derbyshire [9], although the family only appear to have moved to live there around 1868 or 1869. [10]  The 1871 Census describes Henry, living with Emily, their youngest son and two servants at Morley Park, as an ironmaster employing 210 men and 61 boys, as well as occupying 144 acres of farm land, on which a further 4 men and a boy were employed. [11]  This was a substantial operation, obviously requiring a large amount of capital, as well as considerable managerial and financial skills.  In fact, these particular ironworks had provided work for the men of Heage for almost two hundred years.  Frederica and the two other sons remained at boarding school in Lambeth. [12,13]

Morley Park Ironworks, 9 September 2009
Image © Alan Murray-Rust and courtesy of
Licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons License [14]

By April 1873, when Frederica was sixteen, she was also living at Morley Park.  A report in The Derby Mercury describes her as presiding over a stall at a well patronized charity bazaar raising funds for the Heage parish church and National School. [15]  The ironworks business too was in need of supplementary income, as evidenced by the advertisement for the sale of 36 acres of land (The Stripe Farm, Denby) by Henry Cathrow Disney in September the previous year. [16]  In early 1874, however, resurrection of the financial situation proved to be impossible, and he was declared bankrupt.

Mr. H. Cathrow Disney, of the Morley Works, near Belper, has failed for 17,000l.  The works consist principally of two blast-furnaces, and it is not unlikely that the estate will turn out tolerably well. [17]

The family probably moved to Leeds shortly afterwards, where Henry was employed as a clerk at another unknown ironworks [18], and where on 10 May the following year Frederica was married to Thomas Clarke (1845-1904), a corn factor and maltster from Derby. [19,20]

Image © and courtesy of Robert Silverwood
The “Disney boys,” c.1894-1896
Henry Charles Cathrow and Charles Cathrow Disney
Cabinet portrait by Frederick J. Boyes of Derby
Image © and courtesy of Robert Silverwood [21]
Frederica went to live in Derby with her husband and it appears that, between 1881 and 1887, her parents and at least two of her brothers did, too.  Certainly in 1887 Henry Disney was listed as resident at 3 Friary street, Derby [22], and by April 1891 he was working as a “maltster’s manager,” presumably for his son-in-law, Thomas Clarke. [23,24]  Henry Cathrow Disney died at his home, Friary Villa, Derby on 21st November 1896 at the age of 69. [25]
It was possibly around this time that two of his sons visited Frederick J. Boyes’ studio on Osmaston Road to have their portrait taken, a copy of which (see above) is now in the collection of Robert Silverwood [21].  Henry’s widow Emily Disney continued to live in Derby [26] until her death in 1914. [27]
Arboretum Square, Derby
Image © and courtesy of Derby City Council
In the mean time, Frederica and her husband Thomas Clarke had settled in a house – number 7 - in the fashionable Arboretum Square [28,29], located at one of the four entrances to Derby’s Arboretum, England’s first public park. [30]

Genealogy of the Clarke, Bloor and Cathrow Disney families
(click image for larger JPG or here for PDF file)
Thomas was born and had grown up in Derby, his grandfather, also Thomas, having arrived there with his parents from Lincolnshire around the turn of the century. [4]  That Thomas Clarke (1783-1832) had established himself in the corn trading and malting business, with premises on Nottingham road, a short distance to the north-east of Derby’s centre. [31,32]  When he died at the relatively young age of 49, his wife Mary Clarke née Moore (1794-1860) continued to run the business [33,34] until their eldest son Thomas Clarke (1817-1879) was of an age where he could take over the reins. [35,36]

Sarah Elizabeth Clarke née Ramsbottom (1828-1893)
Carte de visite portrait by W.W. Winter of Derby, taken c.1880-1883
Image © and courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library [37]
Frederica’s father-in-law (the “second” Thomas Clarke) was married at Heanor, Derbyshire on 11 May 1844 to Sarah Elizabeth Ramsbottom (1828-1893), daughter of Edward Ramsbottom of Liverpool, and grand-daughter of Robert Bloor of Derby. [4,38]

The Derby China Works, c.1780s
Image from Bemrose (1898) courtesy of [39]

I will digress here because Sarah’s maternal grandfather Robert Bloor, and her husband Thomas Clarke, both played small parts in the history of Royal Crown Derby china, that product which has perhaps most been responsible for making the town of Derby known around the world.
Crown Derby Imari plate
Image © George Le Gars and courtesy Wikimedia Commons [40]
Robert Bloor (1778-1846) was born in the village of Church Gresley in South Derbyshire [41], but moved to Derby after his marriage to Sarah Gilliver (1776-1844) in 1799. [6,42]  The Derby China Manufactory, after having been started six decades earlier by John Heath, André Planché and William Duesbury, had been built up by successive owners William Duesbury II, Michael Kean, William Duesbury III and W.E. Sheffield. [43]  When in 1815 Robert Bloor leased the business, he had already been working there as a salesman and clerk for some years.
Bloor was a shrewd business man and art lover who knew the business well. The company began designing brightly coloured Japanese Imari patterns and new artists were hired as the company set about restoring its former reputation. He borrowed heavily to support the business but restored it to its former high position. [44]
Old China Works, Derby, undated
in Keys, John (1895) Sketches of Old Derby and Neighbourhood,
courtesy of Revolutionary Players [45]
Bloor may have lacked the artistic background of his predecessors … but the factory was never without talented artists and much fine work was produced under the Bloor regime. There is every reason to believe that he was well aware of the traditions he had succeeded to and endeavoured to maintain the high standard. [46]
Royal Crown Derby coffee can, c. late 1820s
Bloor mark used from c.1825
Image © Nathan Antonucci and courtesy of Montreal Antiques [47]
Sadly Robert Bloor’s mental health deteriorated, and he was unable to take an active part in the business from around 1828 onwards, the firm being entrusted to James Thomason, who had been manager since October 1815. [48]

China Works, Nottingham Road, Derby, 1817
from Magna Britannia by Lysons [49]
Depending on which source you read, Thomas Clarke was either responsible for a valiant, but ultimately unsuccessful, attempt to salvage the china works from a state of neglect and bad management [50], or instigated a statute of lunacy against his wife’s grandfather after the latter’s wife had died, to gain control of the firm, but had no interest in the business itself. [51] Whatever the real truth about Clarke’s intentions, an inquisition was held into Bloor’s mental state in early October 1844, resulting in the following verdict:

That it is the opinion of this Jury, that Mr. Robert Bloor is of an unsound state of mind, and incapable of managing his business, and has been so since the 26th of Feb. 1828. [48]

Bloor plate, c.late 1820s
Private Collection [52]

Robert Bloor died on 11 March 1846 at Hathern, Leicestershire, where he had been cared for over the previous sixteen years, aged 68.  His wife Sarah lived to the respectable age of 86, only dying in February 1852, Derby. [53,54,55]  Repeated efforts were made by James Thomason and Thomas Clarke to find someone to purchase or rent the china works, to no avail, and finally in February 1849 it was announced that china manufacture would be discontinued. [51] The plant, stock, moulds and materials were eventually sold to Boyle & Sons of Fenton, while the buildings were demolished, bringing an end to almost a century of production at the Nottingham Road china works. [56]

Image © and courtesy of the Derbyshire Archeaological Society Nottingham Road, Derby, 1852
Image © and courtesy of the Derbyshire Archeaological Society [57]

The land was sold to two Catholic priests, a convent was built there by Reverend Thomas Sing of St Mary’s, and by 1852 it was home to the Sisters of Mercy, with a day school for 70 children, evening classes for factory girls, a large Sunday school, an orphanage, a training programme for domestic servants, a public laundry and, in the following year, a girls’ boarding school.  Sixteen nuns from the convent attended the sick and wounded at Scutari during the Crimean War. In 1862, since the convent had become unhealthy, the convent moved to more appropriate premises [58], the land was purchased by the Midland Railway Company and the buildings demolished in 1863. [59]

Image © The Ordnance Survey and courtesy of Alan Godfrey Maps Nottingham Road, Derby, 1899
Image © The Ordnance Survey and courtesy of Alan Godfrey Maps [60]

This was the same year that Thomas Clarke senior was elected and served as Mayor of the Borough of Derby. [61]   They had moved with their ten children from Nottingham Road, presumably in a house adjacent to the extensive malthouses and grain storage buildings which formed the core of the family business [60], to Pear Tree House in Litchurch. [62]  Thomas died in 1879 from a “lingering illness.” [50]

By the time Thomas Clarke junior’s daughter Muriel was born in 1883 [63], he appears to have been in control of the business. [64]  It also transpires that he employed his father-in-law Henry Disney, who moved from Leeds to live at 3 Friary Street, Derby before 1887, as a manager of the maltworks. [22,61]  Between 1878 and 1898, Thomas and Frederica had thirteen children, five sons and eight daughters. [5,65]  By 1899, the business had expanded considerably, with additional premises in Derwent street east and Fox street. [66],  The Clarkes had moved a number of times, to Matlock Bath in 1888 [67], to Scarborough in 1895 and then back to Derby in time for the April 1901 Census, which shows them living in [65].

Frederica’s father died in 1896 [25], her husband in 1904 [68] and in 1911 she was living in Mickleover with five of her children.  Frederica Eliza Cathrow Clarke née Disney died at Stratford in 1939, aged 81.  The fate of her daughter Muriel is unknown.


Derby resident Nigel Aspdin – a keen photo-sleuth himself, as regular readers of this blog will know - has very kindly cycled around the western end of Nottingham Road to look for any remnants of the buildings which made up and surrounded the china works, convent, granaries and malthouses in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Image © and courtesy of Nigel Aspdin Cottages on Nottingham Road, Derby, 18 July 2010 
Image © and courtesy of Nigel Aspdin [70]

These two cottages on the north side of what is left of Nottingham Road, situated between Wood and Alice Streets, are possibly the only buildings remaining from the early to mid-19th Century.  Nigel suggests that they may even be remnants from the late 18th Century.  The old china works were almost certainly situated immediately to the west of these cottages, currently occupied by the sports grounds of the Landau Forte College.

Image © and courtesy of Nigel Aspdin
Cottages on Nottingham Road, Derby, 18 July 2010
Image © and courtesy of Nigel Aspdin [70]

The gable outlines preserved by the fresher brick colours on the west facing wall of the cottage, as shown in Nigel’s picture above, are conceivably those of the Sisters of Mercy convent.

Image © and courtesy of Nigel Aspdin Possible former malthouse on Alice Street, Derby, 18 July 2010 
Image © and courtesy of Nigel Aspdin [70]

Most of the malthouses appear to have been replaced by buildings which form part of the Liversage Charity Estate, built in the mid- to late 1890s.  However, there is a large building at the northern end of Alice street, the northern (above) and eastern walls (below) of which show some features suggesting that it could once have been a malthouse.

Image © and courtesy of Nigel Aspdin Possible former malthouse on Alice Street, Derby, 18 July 2010 
Image © and courtesy of Nigel Aspdin [70]
On the north-facing wall a series of four, equally spaced rectangular concrete insets can be seen, each three brick courses high and at a high of about two metres.  It is possible that these were formerly where large internal timber cross-beams were set into the walls, acting as joists or supports for the malting floor.  Three similar insets can be seen in the right-hand part of the east-facing wall, at a similar height, half way up and between the ground floor windows.

Image © and courtesy of Nigel Aspdin Overlay of 1899 OS map on 2006 aerial photo
Image © Ordnance Survey and courtesy of Alan Godfrey Maps
Image © Infoterra Ltd & Bluesky and courtesy of Google Earth

It is possible, therefore, that the existing building, outlined above in red from a 2006 aerial photo [71], was formed by the amalgamation of two former malthouses shown on the 1899 Ordnance Survey map [60].
Many thanks to Nigel Aspdin for once again setting forth armed with bicycle and camera in search of clues on my behalf, for his excellent photographs of buildings, for permission to reproduce the image of his Bloor plate, and for his thoughts on many aspects of the story told here. I am also grateful to the Derby Local Studies Library, Alan Murray-Rust and Robert Silverwood, for permission to reproduce images.


[1] Winter, W.W. (n.d.) Cabinet portrait of Frederica Eliza Clarke (1857-1939), Derby, c.1885-1886, Collection of Brett Payne.

[2] Winter, W.W. (n.d.) Cabinet portrait of Frederica Muriel Clarke (b. 1883), Derby, c.1885-1886, Collection of Brett Payne.

[3] Anon (2010) Somerset Herald, Wikipedia article [Accessed 20 Jul 2010].

[4] Howard, Joseph Jackson & Crisp, Frederick Arthur (eds.) (1897) Visitation of England & Wales, Volume 5, England: College of Arms, Courtesy of [Accessed 20 Jul 2010].

[5] General Register Office (GRO) Index to Births, Marriages & Deaths, from FreeBMD [Accessed 20 Jul 2010].

[6] International Genealogical Index (IGI), from FamilySearch [Accessed 20 Jul 2010].

[7] Photographic print of Morley Park Ironworks, c.1870s-1880s, unknown size and format, © Derby Museum & Art Gallery Ref. DMAG001030, courtesy of Picture the Past, . [Accessed 20 Jul 2010].

[8] 1861 Census, 1 Lee Cottages, Cowley Road, Lambeth, Surrey, England, National Archives Ref. RG9/360/41/13/77, UK Census Collection 1841-1901, from [Accessed 20 Jul 2010].

[9] Anon (1863) Petty Sessions, April 15, The Derby Mercury, 22 April 1863, 19th Century British Library Newspapers, Courtesy of Gale CENGAGE Learning [Accessed 20 Jul 2010].

[10] Harrod, J.G. & Co. (eds.) (1870) Postal and Commercial Directory of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, and Staffordshire, Second Edition, London & Norwich: J.G. Harrod, courtesy of the University of Leicester’s Historical Directories [Accessed 20 Jul 2010].

[11] 1871 Census, Morley Park, Heage, Derbyshire, England, National Archives Ref. RG10/3588/21/1/3, UK Census Collection 1841-1901, from [Accessed 20 Jul 2010].

[12] 1871 Census, 4 Angell Park Gardens, Lambeth St Mary, Surrey, England, National Archives Ref. RG10/687/59/40/174, UK Census Collection 1841-1901, from [Accessed 20 Jul 2010].

[13] 1871 Census, 10 Wiltshire Road, Lambeth, London, England, National Archives Ref. RG10/688/59/38/152, UK Census Collection 1841-1901, from [Accessed 20 Jul 2010].

[14] Photograph of Morley Park Ironworks, 9 September 2009, by Alan Murray-Rust, © Copyright Alan Murray-Rust and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

[15] Anon (1873) Heage, The Derby Mercury, 23 April 1873, 19th Century British Library Newspapers, Courtesy of Gale CENGAGE Learning [Accessed 20 Jul 2010].

[16] Anon (1872) Advertisement, The Derby Mercury, 9 October 1872, 19th Century British Library Newspapers, Courtesy of Gale CENGAGE Learning [Accessed 20 Jul 2010].

[17] Anon (1872) Trade of Derbyshire, The Derby Mercury, 26 August 1874, 19th Century British Library Newspapers, Courtesy of Gale CENGAGE Learning [Accessed 20 Jul 2010].

[18] 1881 Census, 83 Caledonian Road, Leeds, Yorkshire, England, National Archives Ref. RG11/4534/88/23/139, UK Census Collection 1841-1901, from [Accessed 20 Jul 2010].

[19] Marriage Registration: Thomas Clarke & Frederica Eliza C. Disney, 2nd Qtr 1876, Leeds Registration District, Vol 9b Pg 564, General Register Office (GRO) Index to Births, Marriages & Deaths, from FreeBMD [Accessed 20 Jul 2010].

[20] Anon (1876) Births, Marriages & Deaths, The Derby Mercury, 17 May 1876, 19th Century British Library Newspapers, Courtesy of Gale CENGAGE Learning [Accessed 20 Jul 2010].

[21] Boyes, Frederick Joseph (n.d.) Cabinet portrait of Henry Charles Cathrow Disney (c.1858-1906) and Charles Cathrow Disney (1867-1941), Derby, c.1894-1896, Collection of Robert Silverwood.

[22] Kelly, E.R. (ed.) (1887) Kelly’s Directory of Derbyshire, London: Kelly & Co., republ. on microfiche by the Derbyshire Family History Society.

[23] 1891 Census, 3 Friary St, Derby St Werburgh, Derbyshire, England, National Archives Ref. RG12/2731/135/36/229, UK Census Collection 1841-1901, from [Accessed 20 Jul 2010].

[24] Kelly, E.R. (ed.) (1891) Kelly’s Directory of Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire & Rutland, and Derbyshire, London: Kelly & Co., republ. on microfiche by the Derbyshire Family History Society.

[25] Deaths: Henry Cathrow Disney, The Times, Tuesday, Nov 24, 1896; pg. 1; Issue 35056; col A, The Times Digital Archive 1785-1985, Courtesy of Gale CENGAGE Learning[Accessed 20 Jul 2010].

[26] 1901 Census, 122 Green Lane, Derby, Derbyshire, England, National Archives Ref. RG13/3218/86/2/8, UK Census Collection 1841-1901, from [Accessed 20 Jul 2010].

[27] Death Registration: Emily Disney, aged 80 [sic], 2nd Qtr 1914, Derby Registration District, Vol 7b Pg 651, General Register Office (GRO) Index to Births, Marriages & Deaths, from FreeBMD [Accessed 20 Jul 2010].

[28] 1881 Census, 7 Arboretum Square, Litchurch, Derby, Derbyshire, England, National Archives Ref. RG11/3401/61/14/68, UK Census Collection 1841-1901, from [Accessed 20 Jul 2010].

[29] Anon (2009) Arboretum – History, Derby City Council web site [Accessed 20 Jul 2010].

[30] Harris, Christopher (n.d.) Derby Arboretum, England’s First Public Park, 1840-2010 web site [Accessed 20 Jul 2010].

[31] Anon (1828) Pigot and Co.’s National Commercial Directory for 1828-29, London & Manchester: J. Pigot & Co., courtesy of the University of Leicester’s Historical Directories [Accessed 20 Jul 2010].

[32] Glover, Stephen (1829) The Directory of the County of Derby 1827-9, Derby: Glover,courtesy of the University of Leicester’s Historical Directories [Accessed 20 Jul 2010].

[33] Anon (1832) Advertisement: In the late Mr. Thomas Clarke’s Affairs, The Derby Mercury, 23 May 1832, 19th Century British Library Newspapers, Courtesy of Gale CENGAGE Learning [Accessed 20 Jul 2010].

[34] Anon (1835) Pigot and Co.’s National Commercial Directory, London & Manchester: J. Pigot & Co., courtesy of the University of Leicester’s Historical Directories [Accessed 20 Jul 2010].

[35] 1841 Census, Nottingham Road, Derby St Alkmund, Derbyshire, England, National Archives Ref. HO107/199/17/54/16, UK Census Collection 1841-1901, from [Accessed 20 Jul 2010].

[36] Anon (1842) Pigot and Co.’s Royal National and Commercial Directory and Topography, London & Manchester: J. Pigot & Co., courtesy of the University of Leicester’s Historical Directories [Accessed 20 Jul 2010].

[37] Winter, W.W. (n.d.) Carte de visite portrait of Sarah Elizabeth Clarke née Ramsbottom (1828-1893), Derby, c.1880-1883, Collection of Derby Local Studies Library.

[38] Marriage Registration: Thomas Clarke & Sarah Elizabeth Ramsbottom, 2nd Qtr 1844, Basford Registration District, Vol 15 Pg 647, General Register Office (GRO) Index to Births, Marriages & Deaths, from FreeBMD [Accessed 23 Jul 2010].

[39] Bemrose, William (1898) Bow, Chelsea and Derby Porcelain, London: Bemrose & Sons, Ltd., 174pp, courtesy of [Accessed 24 Jul 2010].

[40] Image of Crown Derby Imari plate, © George Le Gars and courtesy Wikimedia Commons

[41] Parish Registers of Church Gresley, Derbyshire, 1695-1908, Derbyshire Record Office no: D2112/A/PI/1/1-4,2/1-5,3/1-7,4/1-4,5/1-2, Matlock, Derbyshire, transcribed from microfilm FHL 1785836, LDS Church Family History Library, by Brett Payne, partially available on Church Gresley Parish Pages [Accessed 23 Jul 2010].

[42] Parish Registers of Rosliston, Derbyshire, 1758-1812, Derbyshire Record Office, Matlock, Derbyshire, transcribed from microfilm FHL 1042087, LDS Church Family History Library, by Brett Payne [privately held].

[43] Royal Crown Derby, Article from Wikipedia [Accessed 24 Jul 2010].

[44] Anon (2006) Royal Crown Derby, Heirloom Antiques Centre [Accessed 23 Jul 2010].

[45] Image of Old China Works, Derby, in Keys, John (1895) Sketches of Old Derby and Neighbourhood, courtesy of Revolutionary Players, Derby Porcelain: William Duesbury II and Robert Bloor [Accessed 23 Jul 2010].

[46] Bunt, Cyril G.E. (1956) British Potters and Pottery Today, Leigh-on-Sea: F. Lewis, 130pp, Extract as article, “Royal Crown Derby Porcelain Co. Ltd.” on [Accessed 23 Jul 2010].

[47] Lloyd, Martin (n.d.) Marks on Derby Porcelain, on Montreal Antiques [Accessed 23 Jul 2010].

[48] Anon (1844) Commission of Lunacy at Hathern, The Derby Mercury, 16 October 1844, 19th Century British Library Newspapers, Courtesy of Gale CENGAGE Learning [Accessed 23 Jul 2010].

[49] Magna Britannia by Lysons

[50] Anon (1879) The Late Mr. Thomas Clarke, The Derby Mercury, 31 December 1879, 19th Century British Library Newspapers, Courtesy of Gale CENGAGE Learning [Accessed 23 Jul 2010].

[51] Twitchett, John (1980) Derby Porcelain, 1748-1848: An Illustrated Guide, Barrie & Jenkins, in Derbyshire Porcelain: Nottingham Road c.1749-1848, by the Derbyshire International Porcelain Society [Accessed 24 Jul 2010].

[52] Image of Bloor plate, Private Collection, Reproduced by permission.

[53] 1851 Census, 27 Sacheverel Street, Derby St Peter , Derbyshire, England, National Archives Ref. HO107/2143/409/27/133, UK Census Collection 1841-1901, from [Accessed 24 Jul 2010].

[54] Death Registration: Sarah Bloor, 1st Qtr 1852, Derby Registration District, Vol 7b Pg 233, General Register Office (GRO) Index to Births, Marriages & Deaths, from FreeBMD [Accessed 24 Jul 2010].

[55] Anon (1852) Death Notice for Mrs Sarah Bloor, aged 86, in Sacheverel-street, on Thursday last (12 Feb 1852), The Derby Mercury, 18 February 1852, 19th Century British Library Newspapers, Courtesy of Gale CENGAGE Learning [Accessed 24 Jul 2010].

[56] Burton, William (1863) A General History of Porcelain, Volume II, London: Cassell & Company Ltd., courtesy of [Accessed 24 Jul 2010].

[57] Anon (1852) Map of the Borough of Derby, surveyed by the Board of Ordnance for the Local Board of Health, (facsimile edition) Derbyshire Archaeological Society, 1980.

[58] Anon (n.d.) History of the Convent in Derby, St Mary’s Church & parish Derby web pages [Accessed 26 Jul 2010].

[59] Jewitt, Llewellynn (1878) The Ceramic Art of Great Britain, Volume II, London: Virtue & Co., Ltd., 569pp, courtesy of [Accessed 26 Jul 2010].

[60] Old Ordnance Survey Map: Derby (North), 1899 (O.S. Derbyshire Sheet L.9), republished by Alan Godfrey Maps.

[61] Tacchella, B. (1902) The Derby School Register, 1570-1901, London: Bemrose & Sons, Ltd., 200pp, courtesy of [Accessed 26 Jul 2010]

[62] 1861 Census, 1 Pear Tree House, Litchurch, Derby, Derbyshire, England, National Archives Ref. RG9/2505/148/25/142, UK Census Collection 1841-1901, from [Accessed 26 Jul 2010].

[63] Birth Registration: Frederica Muriel Clarke, 1st Qtr 1883, Derby Registration District, Vol 7b Pg 584, General Register Office (GRO) Index to Births, Marriages & Deaths, from FreeBMD [Accessed 26 Jul 2010].

[64] Kelley, E.R. (ed.) (1881) Kelly’s Directory of Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire & Rutland, & Derbyshire, 1881, London: Kelly & Co., republ. on microfiche by the Derbyshire Family History Society.

[65] 1901 Census, Darley Slade, Belper Road, Derby St Alkmund, Derbyshire, England, National Archives Ref. RG13/3215/19/29/193, UK Census Collection 1841-1901, from [Accessed 26 Jul 2010].

[66] Anon (1899) Kelly’s Directory of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire & Rutland, 1899, London: Kelly’s Directories Limited, courtesy of the University of Leicester’s Historical Directories [Accessed 26 Jul 2010].

[67] 1891 Census, Mason House, Derby Road, Matlock Bath, Derbyshire, England, National Archives Ref. RG12/2775/126/4/17, UK Census Collection 1841-1901, from [Accessed 26 Jul 2010].

[68] Death Registration: Thomas Clarke, 2nd Qtr 1904, Burton Registration District, Vol 6b Pg 222, General Register Office (GRO) Index to Births, Marriages & Deaths, from FreeBMD [Accessed 26 Jul 2010].

[69] 1911 Census, Radbourne View, Station Rd, Mickleover, Derbyshire, England, National Archives Ref. RG14/1040/16/7/59, England & Wales Census Records 1841-1911, from Find My Past [Accessed 16 Mar 2010].

[70] Photographs of buildings on Nottingham Road and Alice Street, Derby, 18 July 2010, by Nigel Aspdin, reproduced by permission.

[71] Aerial Photograph of Nottingham Road, Derby, 11 June 2006, by Infoetrra Ltd. & Bluesky, from Google Earth [Accessed 26 Jul 2010].

Monday, 12 July 2010

Dating photos from card mounts – the dangers

Two cabinet card portraits from a Derby studio that I purchased recently on eBay are good examples of why it is dangerous to rely on a single method for accurate dating of any photographs.  In particular the difference between the date of the photograph or portrait sitting, and the date of the print itself, is highlighted.  It is always advisable to use a range of techniques, including portrait styles, card mount designs, studio addresses, clothing fashions and hair styles, and arrive at a consensus. If enough is known about a particular studio, supplementary information such as negative numbers may also be employed with some success.

Image © & collection of Brett Payne
W.W. Winter card mount, used c.1874-1879

The Derby studio of W.W. Winter, situated in Midland Road, a stone’s throw away from the railway station, was a popular choice for both residents of the town and visitors alike.  Indeed it still operates today due, no doubt, to its good reputation for fine portraits as well as the handy location.  The studio’s output during the latter part of the nineteenth century was prolific, managing an average of a hundred sittings a week through the 1880s and 1890s.  Each of the sittings would naturally produce a series of copies of each negative, usually in the common carte de visite and cabinet size formats.  Such a busy studio would therefore experience a corresponding rapid dwindling of card mount stocks.

Image © & collection of Brett Payne
W.W. Winter card mount, used c.1886-1888

When ordering replenishments from the printer, Winter appears to have been of the opinion that last season’s card mount design would never suffice.  Like many studios of the time, he took the opportunity to flaunt his achievements, in the form of the latest prize medal tally and his most recent royal patronage, cramming the reverse with images of the medals, dates and abundant text in a multitude of fonts.  In the four decades between 1865 and 1905, when the carte de visite and cabinet formats finally went out of favour, the studio used at least thirty different designs and printings (and more await discovery, I am sure).

Image © & collection of Brett Payne
W.W. Winter card mount, used c.1900-1905

During their heyday, each batch would probably not have lasted for much more than a year or so, before another order would be placed.  The opportunity exists, in such cases, for a detailed dating system to be established, provided that enough reliably dated examples of each type can be found.  This is what I have attempted with my study of Winter’s studio, using portraits from my own collection and images sent to me during the last decade by other family historians and collectors from all over the world. 

Image © and collection of Brett Payne

My first task, therefore, when I see a new portrait from Winter (shown above) is to compare the card design with the sequence of fairly well dated types that I have already established.  A quick look at the Winter profile shows that this card mount is of the Type XXIV “57 Medals” which was used c. 1891 to 1893.  The date of the latest of his 57 medals awarded, as listed on reverse, was 1891 (in Glasgow), so presumably the card mount could not have been printed, and therefore used, prior to 1891.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne

Near the foot of the reverse of the card mount, in the space provided for “No. of Negative,” is the clearly pencilled number “56447.”  This presents something of a dilemma, as the provisional range of negative numbers that I have recorded from this card type extends from 80852 to 83598.  Even given that an example could lie slightly outside this range,  the much lower negative number 56447 appears to imply a date several years earlier.  A comparison with the ranges recorded for other card types suggest a correlation with Type XVI (55135-61183), which was used in 1885 and 1886.

The explanation is that it is a copy print.  It is a typical example of a copy of a studio portrait made some time after the sitting, and at the same studio, using the original negative.  Provided that the negative remained in good condition, the print might therefore be of equivalent – or perhaps even better – quality to that originally given to the client.  This was a service offered by most studios, and in 1877 Winter started including the words, “ALL NEGATIVES PRESERVED,” in addition to the more general, “This or any other Portrait enlarged on the premises …”  Perhaps only those studios which had been established for any length of time could make good on their promise, as the glass-plate negatives were bulky and delicate, requiring substantial storage space.

So, while the portrait was probably taken in 1885 or 1886, for some reason the subject, or a family member, returned to Midland Road have duplicates made some five or six years later.  If the portrait itself is examined in detail, and compared with examples of fashions from the period on Roger Vaughan’s web site (1883, 1884, 1885), it can be seen that the high ruffed collar, the embroidered front to the bodice, and the woman’s hairstyle are more typical of the mid 1880s than the early 1890s.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne

The second cabinet portrait from the eBay purchase, which might or might not have been from the same family collection, is of a young child standing on a sofa or divan.  Unfortunately children’s clothing is much harder to date with any accuracy, so I wouldn’t even attempt it with this child’s attire.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne

The front of the card mount is very similar to the first, but differences appear when it is turned over.  Instead of 57 prize medals there are 58, which equates to Type XXV, a card mount design used from 1892 to 1894.  The negative number pencilled on the reverse, 69129, again lies well outside the range previously recorded for this type (84218-89822).  It does, however, fall within the range for Type XX, suggesting a date for the child’s portrait sitting of between 1886 and 1888, six years or so earlier.

Types XXIV and XXV are obviously sequential, and the possibility exists that the two copies were produced at the same time, stocks of older card type not quite having been exhausted before a packet of the new stock was opened.

Since both of these portraits have inscriptions on the reverse which appear to relate to the subjects, I then attempted to identify them, in order to see if the date ranges estimated for the photographic sittings fitted.  First I estimated their ages from the portraits:  the young woman, I guessed was in her late 20s or early 30s, and the child around 2 or 3 years old, giving possible birth dates of c. 1853-1859 and c.1883-1886, respectively.

(1) Frederica Disney afterwards Clarke

(2) Muriel

It seems unlikely that the first inscription was written by the subject herself, and was quite possibly added some time afterwards.  I would therefore immediately place a question mark over the reliability of any such identification, as it may have been written by someone who never knew the subject, or based on a secondary source.  The second inscription is merely a first name, and without any firm evidence that the subject is related to that in the first image, may not be of much use.  However, given that it accompanied the first photograph, and the styles of writing and pen of the two inscriptions appear similar, the natural assumption is that they may be connected in some way.

A search of the 1891 Census quickly unearthed a Frederica Eliza C. Clark [sic], aged 33, living with her husband Thomas and five children, including a daughter Frederica Murriel [sic], aged 8.  Further investigation using earlier and subsequent census records and birth, marriage and death registration indices, showed that Frederica Eliza Disney (1857-1939) was married to Thomas Clarke (1845-1904) at Leeds in 1876, and moved to Derby soon after.  Their daughter Frederica Muriel Clarke was born at Derby in early 1883, and they moved to Matlock Bath around 1888.  After a spell in Scarborough between 1895 and 1899, they moved back to Derby, where they were living in St Alkmund parish in 1901.

The birth dates of the two Fredericas lie nicely within the ranges estimated above, and I am therefore fairly confident with the deductions made, based on a combination of negative numbers, card mount designs, clothing styles, and apparent ages.

The subjects turned out to be descendants of some interesting Derbyshire families, but I’ll save that for another post.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Researching a photo album: (2) Documenting the album and photographs


Once I’ve created a digital photographic and scanned record of an old photo album, the next step for me is usually to provide accompanying documentation of the images.  This record will provide an underlying reference system to the research which follows.  In my experience, it is all too easy to seize on a name written on the back of one of the photographs and away I go.  The risk is that I will often get carried away by the excitement of ongoing discoveries, and this important part of the process will fall by the wayside.


I prefer, therefore, to at least start in as methodical a fashion as I can.  That way, I hope to reduce the chance of ending up with a mountain of discoveries, with no easy way to sort out the relevant from the spurious.

From a genealogical and socio-historical point of view, I feel that it’s also very important to consider the nature of the photographic collection within the album as an entity with a complex internal structure.  Unless the album has been collated by a photo enthusiast from a variety of non-family sources – and this possibility should always be carefully considered – then the subjects of the photographs will probably have some meaning to the album’s one or more former owners.  The people depicted won’t necessarily all be genealogically related to the original owner, but the owner will usually have had some kind of relationship with them.  In all likelihood, there will also be relationships between subjects.  Indeed, part of the purpose of researching an album – at least for me - is to elucidate such relationships, where they exist, in order to build up a framework on which one can drape the stories of their lives.  I will discuss these aspects further in due course, but wanted to emphasize why I stress the importance of thorough documentation at an early stage.

My methods of documentation have evolved somewhat over time, and indeed are still undergoing periodic modification, so I don’t claim that what I describe here is in any way perfect, or that the approach I use will be suited to every reader. I hope to at least provide some ideas that each may use to establish their own best practice.


The origin of a photograph album is very important, particularly if it has few – or no - annotations, as it may provide vital clues to the identities of the portrait subjects.  We are all familiar with stories of how photographs have survived the generations, but have lost all accompanying identification information and context.  It is often a similar story for entire albums and even miscellaneous groups of photographs.  I strongly recommend, therefore, that a special effort is made to document the known history of the album – or Aunt Betty’s shoe box full of loose prints - as far as the researcher is able.

This might merely take the form of a sentence or two, such as:

I, Joe Bloggs, found this photograph album amongst the possessions of my great-aunt (my paternal grandfather’s younger sister) , Julia Bloggs (1892-1971), after she died.  Nobody else in my father’s family knew anything about the album or the people in the photographs.

or it could be far more elaborate, depending on how much can be discovered.  The important thing is that one should aim to preserve all of what is known in as objective manner as possible, making it clear what is established fact and what is conjecture, for any future generations.


If the album has passed through several hands, as is often the case, then an outline family tree may be useful to illustrate such a history.  In the fabricated example shown above:

I, Joe Brown, was given this album in 2010 by my mother Fiona Brown.  She and my father had inherited it from his sister (my paternal aunt) Freda Brown a year earlier.  My parents had discussed the album over the years with Freda, as it had been passed on to them when Fred & Freda’s parents had died in the late 1970s.  My father thinks he remembers being told by his sister Freda that the album used to belong to their father’s first wife Charlotte Brown née Black.

With the particular album that I am currently researching, the donor Jack Armstrong tells me that he bought it at a yard sale in West Chester, Pennsylvania some time in the late 1990s.  At the time, the vendors were unable to provide any information as to its provenance.  Originally, it had the title “Album” in silver-coloured tin plate letters on the cover, but that subsequently became detached and lost.  The fact that the album was “rescued” in West Chester may be irrelevant, as the previous owner could conceivably have purchased it anywhere.

Photograph Index

The next task is to compile an index which will eventually contain a summary of the important information about each photograph.  I use it for reference and analytical purposes, and often keep a print out in the front of the album.  I have used MS Word to create the index, but nowadays I find MS Excel more convenient.  It doesn’t really matter what format is used, but one that is easily shared is preferable.  My index will contain some the following fields.  I’ve highlighted the ones I always include. The remainder I may or may not use, depending on the particular project, and can be regarded as optional.  Other researchers may also wish to use other fields that I’ve not mentioned.


Reference – the file name/number given to the scanned/edited image


Format– The photograph type or format e.g. cabinet card, ferrotype, carte de visite, post card, loose print, etc.

Size – Width and height/length of both the card mount and photographic print, in millimetres, measured with an ordinary ruler. By convention, the horizontal dimension is given first, whether this is smaller or greater than the vertical dimension.  Alternatively, you can use the measuring tools within Adobe Photoshop (or other image editing software) to determine the dimensions.


Card thickness – The thickness of the card mount is only practical to measure if you have the necessary equipment, such as a micrometer screw gauge, and is probably worth doing only for very detailed studies, e.g. of a particular studio.

01x 04x 09x

Portrait style – e.g. full length/half-length/head-and-shoulders, seated/standing, couple/group, vignetted, etc.

Setting – e.g. studio, outdoors, garden


Photographer – the name of the photographer and/or studio, as printed, stamped, written or embossed on the photo or card mount

Studio Address – the address of the photographic studio, as displayed on the card mount, including the county/state/province/country (Chapman codes in the UK, Country Codes as used by the NZSG) in separate columns

Subject – a brief description of the subject or subjects, e.g. woman and child, or elderly man in top hat

48x 05x 42x

Age(s) – estimated ages of subject(s), using a range to indicate uncertainty, e.g. 3-4 years, or aged 60-70 yrs, etc.

Date – estimated date that the portrait or photograph was taken, again using a range to indicate uncertainty, e.g. 1885-1895, or 1880s


Annotations – full transcripts of any annotations on the card mounts, or on the album pages where the photographs were, including negative numbers

Remarks/Notes – Any other remarks about the photograph, subjects or studio background worthy of note, including possible interpretations by the researcher

Some tailoring of the photograph index will usually be necessary for the researcher’s specific purposes.  However, any design should be carefully thought out, with consideration being given to the information which will be required, not only for the analysis of the album contents, but also for the proper citation of photographs.

Citation of Photographs

The citation styles for photographic images, of which there are several, are usually designed to cater for other works of art as well, and are therefore rather generalised.  The popular ones (MLA, Chicago, Harvard, APA) follow similar lines, and contain the same essential elements, which are:

  • Name of Creator and role, e.g.
  • Title or Description of Image
  • Year of Composition
  • Medium
  • Current Location e.g. Name of institution where currently held, Private Collection of [name], etc.

and if the image is reproduced in another work, such as a book, the following additional elements are used:

  • Title of Publication
  • Author or Editor of Publication
  • Location & Name of Publisher
  • Date of Publication
  • Page number

or on a web site:

  • Online Database Name or Web Site
  • URL
  • Date Accessed

The APA style for works of art in general is given as follows

Artist (last name, first name), artist’s role (in parentheses i.e. Artist, Architect), title, the work type, in brackets [Painting, Cathedral, Chair], country of origin or city, and state, and repository.

Adapting this specifically for photographs, one might therefore produce the following citation:

Pifer & Becker Photo-Palace (Photographic Studio) (estd. c.1887-1895) Portrait of a young man [Photograph], 94-100 Wilshire Building, Superior St, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A., Personal collection of Brett Payne, Tauranga, New Zealand.

The excellent NLM Style Guide provides a detailed description of how to cite photographs, which includes additional elements such as the size of the photograph, and makes the following important suggestion:

Prints and photographs often contain little information to use in constructing a citation. A formal title may be absent and publishing facts unclear. Therefore, include in a citation, whenever, possible the name of a library or other public archive where the item may be found, along with any order or catalog number available.

So I would suggest that the following additional elements should therefore also be considered for inclusion:

  • Size of Photograph and Mount or Frame
  • Collection Catalogue or Reference Number

There is a large variety of reference management software available, but it is beyond the scope of this article to discuss them in any detail.  Wikipedia has a good comparative study summary here.  I only have limited experience of a couple, specifically the MS Word add-on EndNote (at $300 very expensive, unless you can get a student discount) and the Firefox/MS Word add-on Zotero (a free download).

I would strongly recommend that those who reference photographs (or any other sources, for that matter) regularly in the course of their writing investigate the use of reference management software.  As a “mature student” who has recently returned to academic life after an interlude of 25 years, I was astounded at how simple it makes life when writing up any research that requires formal referencing.  I haven’t yet set up my EndNote styles to include photographs, but intend to do so for this album project, and will cover that in a separate article at some stage.

Prints of Photographs

Scanned images are very useful for examination of photographic detail, and have the advantage that they may be handled repeatedly without fear of causing damage to the originals which have been stored safely back in the album.  However, nothing beats having actual photographs to shuffle around the table while one is researching timelines, or assessing whether the subject of one portrait is an older version of the subject of another.


Having proper prints made of dozens (if not more) of images can be a costly exercise, and I use a far simpler and cheaper, if somewhat rough and ready, method.  I simply print them out on ordinary paper using the very basic Windows Photo Viewer/Print function and a black-and-white Laser printer.  Choose the “9x13” print option for cabinet cards (resulting in four images to a page) and the “wallet” option for CDVs or tintypes (nine/page), and they will be very roughly the right size.


I then cut out the prints, leaving margins to write reference numbers and date estimates.  Granted, it’s not quite the same as using the originals, but I have the satisfaction of knowing that the originals are safe, and I have reasonable facsimiles to annotate and play around with, at a fraction of the cost of having photographic prints made.


Quick Guide to Citing Images, Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar

Citing Images, University of Cincinnati Libraries

Walli, Gaylin (n.d.) How to Cite a Photograph,

How to Cite Electronic Sources, The Library of Congress

Citing Medicine: The NLM Style Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers, U.S. National Library of Medicine

Comparison of Reference Management Software, Wikipedia

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