Early Photographic Studios
in Wolverhampton


Godfrey W. Allen

The reverse of this card, printed in pale lilac on pale green, gives the address: Wolverhampton Studios, 53 Queen Street.  It also says "From Piccadilly and Regent Street Street, London, W".  But the quality of the card is far from the West End.

From the style of dress and the meditative pose, the gentleman is probably a nonconformist minister.

Anglo American Photographic Company

This company was at 53 Queen Street (and in Birmingham and London).  They proudly offer "3 doz. Gem portraits for 2s. 6d. taken and finished in a few minutes".  Presumably Gem portraits are these tiny prints.

Scans of this carte de visite (and several others on these pages) have been kindly provided by Carl Green from his massive collection.

A. Asprey

A. Asprey had his studio in Bilston, but exactly where it does not say.

Arthur & Co.

Their address is 49 Snow Hill. 

The image of the baby is nicely exposed, showing details in the dark background, and the light dress.

This is possibly a Grandfather and Grandson. The boy is dressed in lace-up calf length boots, a velvet suit with a sailor collar and some sort of tie or cravat with worn and frayed ends.

Grandfather is sitting on a typical studio chair, and the boy is standing on some kind of plinth.

By the end of the 19th century it seems to have been quite common for photographers to be called out to the wedding reception to take a group photo, which was often taken in the back garden. This appears to have been in the photographer's studio.

Ernest Bassett

Read an account of Ernest Bassett and his career

W. Bassett

The reverse shows the address 29 Snow Hill. 

The text says "enlargements life size coloured in oil &c".  Photographers were also sometimes painters too but the hand colouring of photos was common, if expensive.

No connection between W. Bassett and Ernest Bassett has been found.

W. Beasant

Not a photographer but a "photographic artist", one of many photographers who, from time to time occupied 41 Darlington Street.

Edith has signed her name in the top right corner.

J. Caddick

Caddick is a common local name and it is unlikely that this gentleman was an American. 

His business address was 166 Penn Road.  

J. N. Cadwalender

The text on the photo lists two locations: Chapel Ash and Henwood Road.  The Henwood Road address may well be Cadwalender's residence, with a studio in the front room.

Note the elaborate painted backcloth, suggesting an opulent sitting room.  Such backcloths were common studio props.

Note that in the photo above details of the ladies' dresses have come out. The Ladies Journal of 30th October 1880 had this advice on how to dress when sitting for a photographer: 

"Very few ladies know how to dress so as to secure the most pleasing photograph. The best materials to wear are such as are not too glossy, and such as will fold or drape nicely, as reps., poplins, satins and silks. A black silk dress looks well on almost everybody, and if not bedecked with ribbons or lace, which will take whiter, will photograph satisfactorily. So garnet, cherry, wine colour, sea or bottle green, light and dark orange, and slate colours are all excellent colours to photograph. But pure white is bad, and lavender, lilac, sky blue, purple and French blue take very light, and dresses having bold patterns upon them, should never be worn for a picture. Avoid anything that will look streaky or spotty".

J. P. Crook

The address is 91 Shaw Road - very much an out of town address.

This photo - possibly of four generations of men is unusual in that it appears to have been taken outside, possibly at the family home.

Photographers did not often go out because of technical problems with equipment and lighting.

W. A. Dodds

Dodds' address was 53 Queen Street.  All of these scans of his work come from Carl Green, to whom many thanks. 

This is a typical representation of a middle class man.

Another, and very different representation of a middle class gentleman.

The child's pose is very unusual.

A fine, but faded photograph of an old lady.  
Dodds also produced this photo of a drawing of what looks very much like St. Michael's, Tettenhall.  It would be interesting to know if this was a commission by the painter or whether Dodds sold prints of local scenes as a regular commercial practice.


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