British photographic history

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Helbsy - South America, Liverpool and Denbigh

I have been researching the HELSBY family of photographers along with Ron Cosens in Yorkshire, Alejandro de la Fuente in Santiago and Peter Helsby in Arizona.

James Gooden HELSBY, Thomas Columbus HELSBY, William George HELSBY and John Stephens HELSBY, the three sons of James Gooden HELSBY all had significant roles as early photographers in South America and William also operated a branch in Liverpool then set up in Denbighshire, Wales with his son William George HELSBY junior also joining the business. We would be interested in hearing from others with an interest in these photographers.

Cheers!

Marcel (Marcel Safier, Brisbane, Australia)

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Hi Marcel - this may be a red herring but i have a note on file that "Early in 1903 Mr J B Helsby, a press photographer met Mr Walter J Edwards, a travelling salesman for a German photographic firm and together they entered into partnership, forming ‘The Topical Press Photographic Agency’. I wonder if there is any relation to your helsbys? My institution now owns the topical archives and any additional info on our Mr Helsby woudl be very welcome. many thanks, Sarah

Sarah, thanks for sharing this. James Barrow Helsby is not connected the Helsby family of photographers I am researching, but I have not looked further into his story. You will find his partnership notice in the London Gazette however. Cheers! Marcel

many thanks, Marcel - I'll follow up that lead. Good luck with your research. Best, Sarah

Sorry for this not particularly informative comment but I wanted to add a note of encouragement. I have long thought this was a very interesting family of photographers. There were some good Helsby South American daguerreotypes which came onto the market in the 1980s and I had always hoped that a family hoard might emerge but I presume nothing has yet? Somewhere I believe we have a nice Helsby ambrotype of a local nanny and a British baby. I remember doing a smidgen of research back then but can't put my hands on anything at the moment. Good luck.

Ken

Thanks Ken, a few friends including some on this list own some choice cased images and there are quite a few in institutions. Nothing much in the way of early images has emerged from the family itself although there are some members keenly interested in the Helsby genealogy. Our multi-national research effort has flushed out quite a few new details and I am hoping to visit South America in the next 2 years for a holiday and a more detailed look at photographic history there with the aid of a few local photographic historians. I am happy to hear from you again if you locate your material, meanwhile I will send you a few things directly. Cheers! Marcel

William George Helsby Jr was my great grandfather, and lived in Denbigh after his return from South America. Another related Helsby was the painter Alfredo Helsby, son of Thomas Columbus H and his wife Patience Hazell. Alfredo was born in Valparaiso 22/7/1862 and studied for a time in Paris. Try him on google for more info.

I have some WGH daguerrotypes.

Robert Caldicott

Dear Robert, my name is Alejandro De la Fuente from Santiago Chile. I am a photographic collector and I have been investigating on your relatives for many years in Santiago and Valparaiso. I have big collections of daguerreotypes and CDV many of them from William George and John Helsby and paintings from Alberto Helsby. I have contributed to Peter Helsby with the genealogy of your family with information I have collected in particular in Valparaiso were they lived many years and where your great  grandfather was  born.  If you are planning to come to Chile I am happy to share my collections of daguerreotypes and show you the famous Helsby’s Corner in Valparaiso.

You can write me directly to alejandro.delafuentegoic@gmail.com if you are interested in more information.

Sincerely

Alejandro De la Fuente



Robert Caldicott said:

William George Helsby Jr was my great grandfather, and lived in Denbigh after his return from South America. Another related Helsby was the painter Alfredo Helsby, son of Thomas Columbus H and his wife Patience Hazell. Alfredo was born in Valparaiso 22/7/1862 and studied for a time in Paris. Try him on google for more info.

I have some WGH daguerrotypes.

Robert Caldicott

I also have four Thomas Helsby daguerreotypes, all taken in Valparaiso, fortunately with labels giving the sitter's name - (Sewell). Mr Sewell is in his late 60s. In the mountains near Valparaiso there is a copper mine and village which bears his name. Helsby's name and Valparaiso is impressed into the red velvet padding in the interior of the case. In addition, the case carries the Royal coat of arms which might indicate that Mr John Sewell perhaps also had some consular duties? 

Michael 



Sarah McDonald said:

Hi Sarah

I do have some information on James Barrow Helsby, my email address is pchelsby@gmail.com if you would like me to send you what I have.

Regards Peter Helsby Western Australia

Hi Marcel - this may be a red herring but i have a note on file that "Early in 1903 Mr J B Helsby, a press photographer met Mr Walter J Edwards, a travelling salesman for a German photographic firm and together they entered into partnership, forming ‘The Topical Press Photographic Agency’. I wonder if there is any relation to your helsbys? My institution now owns the topical archives and any additional info on our Mr Helsby woudl be very welcome. many thanks, Sarah

Hi Michael

 

Do you still have the 4 Thomas Helsby daguerreotypes of John Sewell.

 

Judy, Canada

j.wright@shaw.ca



michaelg said:

I also have four Thomas Helsby daguerreotypes, all taken in Valparaiso, fortunately with labels giving the sitter's name - (Sewell). Mr Sewell is in his late 60s. In the mountains near Valparaiso there is a copper mine and village which bears his name. Helsby's name and Valparaiso is impressed into the red velvet padding in the interior of the case. In addition, the case carries the Royal coat of arms which might indicate that Mr John Sewell perhaps also had some consular duties? 

Michael 

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