Jane Wigley Portraits 1845-1855

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.

You need to be a member of British Photographic History to add comments!

Join British Photographic History

Email me when people reply –


  • Hi David, many thanks for your interest - such a shame that no attributed photographs have come to light yet. Let's keep looking!

  • Many thanks for your interest, such a shame that no photographs have surfaced yet. Let's keep looking!

  • Hello Rose,

    The only info I have is that Jane Nina Wigley worked from a studio at 108 Fleet St London during the period 1854-5. No photographs sorry.

  • Rose - Thanks!  What a fascinating person.  Frustrating birth records, but since you have burial information, the death date is firm.  I had hoped with a name like, "Wigley" that searching for records would be easier as only a few people with that name.  But as you know it was far more popular than I expected.  Still deep digging and your wonderful sharing of info. helps reveal additional data. This is one reason I'm trying to get my own website up and running as have 50 years of research that needs to be made available.  I'll contact you on your webpage with more details.  In the meantime, best wishes and thanks, paula

  • Hi Paula, I'm so glad to hear that you are also researching Jane who is a photographer of great significance. My blog is based on the Heathcote research viewed at the Heathcote Archive in Nottingham. All subsequent genealogical searches were based on sight of familial continuity involving her father and two sisters. There are many age anomalies in Jane's census data but the 1883 death fulfilled the familial criteria.

    Happy to discuss further and eager to hear more about your long term project - please contact me via my website. Best wishes, Rose

  • Hi Rose - I've also been researching Jane Wigley (as part of a long-term project of gathering info. on photographers who advertised or were mentioned in 19th c. British photographic journals.  I'm pleased you are working on her.  I have one quick question 00 her death date is listed in several places as 1883.  There was indeed a Jane Wigley who died that year, but I think it might be another person with the same name.  Do you have any insights on this?  Best and good luck with your researches.  Paula Fleming

  • 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


  • 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 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,

    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

This reply was deleted.