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Marion Neilson

(1875-1965), Photographer

Artist of 1 portrait

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Claud Lovat Fraser, by Marion Neilson - NPG P966

Claud Lovat Fraser

by Marion Neilson
gelatin silver print, 1913
NPG P966

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Kristel DE WULF

14 September 2019, 16:11

In August I bought two photographs by Marion Neilson in a charity shop in Norwich. I knew nothing about her, but the photos appealed to me. Since then I have tried to follow her trace through the available records. This is what I have found out:
Marion Neilson, née Lehmann, was born in Hamburg, Germany on 23 December 1875. She married painter Charles Peter Neilson on 30 July 1908 in Chicago, Cook, Illinois. In 1911 they were boarders in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales. Both Charles Peter and Marion were artists.
On 7 September 1911 their only son, Gerald de Barri (i.e. Gerald of Wales) Neilson, was born in the district of Pembroke. His portrait was painted by Frederick Gore.
By 1915 Marion Neilson, photographer, had a studio at 26 Old Bond Street, London. In 1920 her studio was located at 45 Knightsbridge.
On 14 January 1923 Marion made a photograph of Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, who later became Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. The photograph was dated by the sitter.
By 1925 Marion’s studio had moved to 180 New Bond Street. Her husband, Charles Peter Neilson, had settled at The Old House, Strand street, Sandwich by 1922. He was still living and working there in 1930. On 2 January 1931 he died in Sandwich after falling off the roof of a house he was repairing.
In 1939 Marion was living on private means at 44 Strand Street, Sandwich. Marion Neilson of Grove House, Dent-de-Lion Road, Garlinge, Margate, died on 2 October 1965. She left her son, Gerald de Barri Neilson, £10997.
West Sussex Record Office holds two photographs by Marion Neilson of Lieutenant Rathbone dated 1918.
Society photographer Dorothy Wilding started her photographic career as an apprentice to Marion Neilson.
The words of Francis E O’Doherty make Marion’s story much more lively: Marion, “an accomplished photographer, changed the style in which the subject was captured on film from the contrived pose of rigidity only known to the Victorians to a more natural relaxed affair, more likely to have a street scene in the background than the black curtains of old. The idea was a breakthrough, which allowed her to open "Shop" in Bond St., London and become a great success. The riches this allowed her, enabled them to settle in and own a number of properties in the town of Sandwich in Kent.”
The source references can be found here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_kasl5oqmCCgDym8AblUk9ycOccXFbtLHHOOTfL09ns/edit?usp=sharing
If you can add to this story, please get in touch.
Kristel DE WULF

Francis Eugene O'Doherty

28 May 2017, 01:24

My mother-in-law was married to Gerald de Barri Neilson, the son of Marion Neilson and Charles Peter Neilson (1867-1937) ,listed as an American artist but born Pitlessie Scotland. Marion was from Yellowstone as we understand it but there lies a story for later. We have a number of photos taken by Marion, including those of Claud lovat Frazer and others of note, correspondents to her from the queen mums aid. And a number of other items of hers. The story we know of her is not short. Should it, be wanted please get in touch. Francis E O'Doherty.

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