British photographic history

Information and discussion on all aspects of British photographic history

Someone knows some biographical facts about Hugh Owen. He lived in Oporto, Portugal?

Thank you!


Views: 1660

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Thank you, Andrew, for that first and interesting reference. Wikipedia I give less credence to, considering it is riddled with major mistakes in photographer biographies and other areas, and their arrogant "editorial" approach, which does not permit anyone to correct them, even with proper references.

Thanks, Richard. I have edited the Wikipedia article on Owen to insert the date of the Inauguration Meeting of the Society, which he attended and have also edited the article on Joseph James Forrester, inserting a para on his photography. I am working on an article of Forrester for the British Historical Society of Portugal. Here is the section of that article on his photography:

Forrester had a new house built in Gaia between 1854 and 1860, which contained a library and art and photographic studios. This enabled him to dedicate time to his new hobby. His first contact with photography probably took place when fellow-Scotsman David Octavius Hill took six photographs of him sometime between 1844 and 1846. He was friends with Hugh Owen, a pioneer of photography who visited Oporto in the 1850s, and then received lessons from Hugh Welch Diamond in London, another pioneer. Forrester quickly received recognition and was accepted into the social circles of the leading amateurs. He became a member of the Photographic Society in the UK, being elected on 6 July 1854, just 18 months after its establishment. He also joined the Society’s dining club, which was limited to just 20 members.[1] It is likely that he provided technical training in calotype photography to Frederick William Flower, who also worked in the wine trade in Oporto and whose story was featured in the Society’s Annual Report of 1994.[2] Many of Forrester’s photographs survive and a good collection of his portraits of Portuguese people is held by National Galleries of Scotland,[3] while his photographs of views of the River Douro are held by several other collections. However, Figueiredo concludes that many of these photographs have been lost, having identified a document that refers to “220 views” by Forrester.[4]

[1] Figueiredo, Filipe. 2008, Forrester - An amateur photographer in Portugal.

[2] Flower, Jane, 1994. Frederick William Flower.


[4] Figueiredo, op cit

Richard Sullivan HonFRPS said:

Here's a few references to a Hugh Owen of Bristol. They are in the link with the sources included.

--Dick Sullivan

Andrew Shepherd said:

By coincidence there were two Hugh Owens associated with Porto or Oporto. One was a military officer who fought in the Peninsular War and the other was the photographer. It appears that Joseph James Forrester knew them both. Owen, the military officer, accompanied him on some of his travels by boat on the Douro, while Forrester would have known Owen the photographer as they were both members of the Photographic Society. Everything I have seen confirms that Hugh Owen from Bristol did make a visit to Portugal in the 1850s. Please see an article I have just uploaded on Wikipedia.
Manuel Magalhaes said:


Tradução de Português para Inglês

First, sorry but my English is not very good and I have difficulty writing, but I read it and understand it fairly well. Thanks for the info on Hugh Owen. I think he lived in Porto and made some photos here. Should be a friend of James Joseph Forester, big businessman in Port wine and photographer who lived in Porto and was drowned in the River Douro. There is another photographer, English, this time in Porto Frederik William Flower, which was also negative on paper, calotypes and worked as a businessman in Port. I think everyone should know, because the Port was and is a small town and then to Porto knew the whole society together.
there are a few photos of Hugh Owen in Search "OWEN"
I already knew "Photographs Exhibited in Britain 1839-1865, National Gallery of Canada, & online.
I have several blogs (about the history of photography), (some of my photos collection) (about me and my work the photographer, curriculum, etc.)
Best regards and again thanks for the info 

Manuel Magalhaes

Dear Andrew,

The two Hugh Owens' were in fact father and son.

Best wishes

ian Sumner

Dear Ian,

Hugh Owen 1784-1860 was a soldier in the Anglo-Portuguese army. He had a son, Hugh Owen, 1825-91 who served with the Portuguese army. But no connection with Hugh Owen the photographer from Bristol, 1808-97, as far as I can work out.



Andrew Shepherd said:

Dear Ian,

Hugh Owen 1784-1860 was a soldier in the Anglo-Portuguese army. He had a son, Hugh Owen, 1825-91 who served with the Portuguese army. But no connection with Hugh Owen the photographer from Bristol, 1808-97, as far as I can work out.



He was born in Scotland. See the article at

Alex Novak said:

Frederick William Flower was an American, not English.  I have a paper negative (Regoa Village on the Upper Douro River (Portugal)) and later positive prints of this work.

Some clarifications on Hugh Owen, the photographer. It appears that he was the son of Colonel Hugh Owen who lived in Porto. Likely he was illegitimate as he was born in England in 1808 and the Colonel left England in 1809 to fight in the Peninsular War and did not return until 1856. While in Porto the colonel married and his first son was also called Hugh (born 1825) which causes a lot of confusion. If you look at the photographer's publication Here and There in Portugal you will see (1) from the Table of Illustrations that it is clearly by Owen as the line drawings were based on his photographs and several quite well-known artists were credited with the drawings, including the photographer, P.H. Delamotte, and (2) the book is dedicated to his father Colonel Owen. The link to the publication is at

Reply to Discussion


© 2023   Created by Michael Pritchard.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service