The Southwell Brothers: Photographers Royal
Past display archive
9 May - 6 December 2011
Room 26 case display
King Edward VII; Queen Alexandra; George I, King of Greece
by Southwell Brothers
The Southwell Brothers comprised the partnership between William (1823–70), Frederick (1833–83) and Edwin (1840–82) Southwell. They established their joint venture in 1862 at the height of the carte-de-visite’s popularity. The sons of a piano maker, the eldest two brothers followed their father’s trade before William opened a photographic studio in London at 16 Baker Street in about 1857. Early royal patronage ensured a further distinguished clientele that was made up of the aristocracy, politicians, clergy and members of the theatrical profession. Success continued with two further studios opening at 22 Baker Street in 1862 and 64a New Bond Street in 1867. Their reported daily earnings averaged between £70 and £100.
After William’s sudden death in 1870 and the ensuing financial difficulties faced by the two surviving brothers, the studio passed through various hands. Sold in 1878 to the photographers Boning & Small, press advertisements were placed announcing their intention to destroy the Southwell’s negatives. As such, it appears the brothers’ complete archive is lost, though a record of their work demonstrating their artistic flair persists through their surviving cartes-de-visite. This display showcases some of these, including a recently acquired portrait of Queen Victoria.
© National Portrait Gallery, London
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Links to audio and transcripts of interviews with artists, sitters and historic recordings.
- Queen Victoria (NPG x13971)
- George Belmore (George Belmore Garstin or George Benjamin Garstin) as Stephen Hargreaves in 'Aurora Floyd' (NPG x713)
- Louise, Queen of Denmark; Maria Feodorovna, Empress of Russia (Princess Dagmar); Queen Alexandra (NPG Ax38294)
- Ellen Terry as Desdemona in 'Othello' (NPG x16990)
- King Edward VII; Queen Alexandra; George I, King of Greece (NPG Ax47007)
- Teresa Elizabeth Furtado (Mrs John Clarke) in 'The Chain of Crime' (NPG x38414)
- George James Vining as Antipholus of Syracuse; John Nelson as Antipholus of Ephesus in 'The Comedy of Errors' (NPG x5104)
- Charles Webb; Henry Berry Webb as the Dromio Twins in 'The Comedy of Errors' (NPG x27313)
- Queen Victoria (NPG x134190)
- Queen Alexandra
- George Belmore (George Belmore Garstin or George Benjamin Garstin)
- King Edward VII
- Teresa Elizabeth Furtado (Mrs John Clarke)
- George I, King of Greece
- Louise, Queen of Denmark
- Maria Feodorovna, Empress of Russia (Princess Dagmar)
- John Nelson
- Dame Ellen Alice Terry
- Queen Victoria
- George James Vining
- Charles Webb
- Henry Berry Webb