British photographic history

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I am currently researching the life and work of Jane Wigley, the first female professional photographer in London.  She produced both Daguerrotype and collodion portraits from her Fleet Street studio, and was active in both London and Newcastle upon Tyne between 1845 and 1855.

Is anyone aware of the location of her photographs or a portrait of Miss Wigley to complete the next post in my Early Women Photographers blog?

Many thanks.

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Hello Rose,

I have some information relating to Jane Nina Wigley and her time in Newcastle. Including details from adverts in local papers and business directories, which I can share with you if you wish.

Unfortunately, I have not , and have never heard of any portraits attributed to her.


Paul Cordes

Hi Paul

Many thanks for getting in touch and I would be keen to see whatever information you may have.  I managed to locate several Newcastle Journal references from 1843 to 1847 covering Beard's original advertisement for an "Advantageous Investment" to Jane's departure.  But if you have any additional coverage that would be great to see.

It seems strange that there is no no remaining evidence of a ten year professional career, so let's keep looking!

Best wishes


Hello Rose,

It is very surprising about the lack of evidence and recognised images, but the search is on.

You probably have most of the information but here goes:

Jane Nina Wigley opened a Daguerreotype Portrait Gallery in 1845 in the Royal Arcade, off Pilgrim Street advertising in the Newcastle Journal.

In 1845 , she purchased the daguerreotype license for Newcastle Upon Tyne, Gateshead and the surrounding area.

She advertised in the Gateshead Observer on 20th December 1845, possibly because of the arrival of Anthony Lyghtly who had a `daguerreotype portraite establishment` in Sunderland.

There doesn`t appear to be any clue where Miss Wigley learned to make dags., Apparently, Beard made comments about her inadequate technique.

She claimed  that she specialised in hand coloured dags. and in The Times, that they were the `largest and best in England`.

Again, she ran an advert in the Newcastle Journal: 4th July 1846.

She closed her gallery on 5th June 1847 and returned to London advertising in The Times, ( you probably have all the London info).

We also found some mention in a correspondence between Thomas Augustine Malone and Fox-Talbot from 1851, about Beard regretting giving Miss Wigley a license and Fox Talbot threatening proceedings when she started producing wet plate collodion images.

I can forward what I have if this is unknown to you.

Happy hunting


Hi Paul

Many thanks for sharing your investigations.  I would be very interested to see the Gateshead Observer which was not on my list of sources.  Do you have a copy?

Here's the link to my biography of Miss Wigley so you can see what is yet to find:

Best wishes


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