British photographic history

Information and discussion on all aspects of British photographic history

Hello, I have come across a hand coloured CDV in our museum collection (Te Papa, Wellington, New Zealand) which has a handwritten credit on the verso. I think it reads: 'Mrs Browning / Photographist / & Colourist / 14 Pollock Street / Glasgow'.

Does anyone know anything about her?

Best wishes, Lissa

Views: 332

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Hi Lissa 

According to Richard Torrance's Scottish Studio Photographers to 1914 and workers in the Scottish photographic industry (Scottish Record Society, 2011): 

Theresa Browning

1864-65. 65 Paisley Road, Glasgow

1866-67. 127 Paisley Road, Glasgow

1868. 66 South Kinning Place, Glasgow

1869. 12 Cumber Street, Glasgow. 

There's no easy way of searching for a single street address other than turning pages so it's not immediatelly possible to say if another photographer was occupying 14 Pollock Street, Glasgow who may have been employing Mrs Browning. 

However another source gives 14 Pollok (sic) Street for 1865 (http://www.thelows.madasafish.com/alpha/Bs.htm

Hope that helps somewhat. 

That's great - thank you Michael

Hi, Lissa

This seems very appropriate for International Women's Day - I'm originally from Glasgow, but know NZ well. I think Theresa, might be this woman: 

Browning, Madame Theresa Dessurne, teacher of music and photographic colourist, 119 Shields Rd, Glasgow. There's an entry about here in on a Googlebook as well, which suggest she was also a musician and had to support herself after she was widowed. Here's the reference in case you can look it up https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=EeeuAfSxlp0C&pg=PA22&lp...

I'm a member of Ancestry.co.uk, so will see if I can pull together a bit more as it looks as if she moved to Glasgow from London and she's of French extraction (hence the spelling of Theresa, like the French name Therese) - if I can find her on a census record we'll have a better idea whether these addresses are work and/or home. Pollock/Pollok are both used in Glasgow and Cumber St is actually Cumberland Street. Do you have any idea who the CdV is of? All the best, Anne 

Hi Lissa

I am so glad to hear of this work being located, having tried to find an example of Theresa's photography with no success.

Can I add some details? Miss Dessurne of Lyndoch Place advertised her photographic business in the Glasgow Sentinel, March 15 1856 and married William Browning in June 1856. 

She appears in the 1857-8 Post Office Directory as Browning, Mrs W (late Miss Dessurne) photographic miniature painter, 2 Lynedoch pl, Woodlands Road.

Theresa also exhibited five coloured collodion positives at the 1855 Glasgow British Association Exhibition - details here: http://peib.dmu.ac.uk/itemphotographer.php?photogNo=516&orderby... 

I assume this is the correct person and hope this helps in some way. Do you have a link to the image?

Best wishes, Rose

Hi, Lissa and Rose

I've also found some of the information that Rose has mentioned, plus some other details. Yes, it is definitely the correct person as I found her described in a 1894 publication as follows:

Browning, Mrs, nee Theresa Dessurne, b. London 4 July 1828. Teacher and arranger for pianoforte. Of French descent. Since 1846 resident in Glasgow. She married in 1856, but left a widow in 1862, since when she has supported herself principally by tuition.

As you'll see, this doesn't mention her photography at all (it's a book called 'Musical Scotland'), but from what I found she started as a painter (which her brother also was), then moved onto photograph. From c.1866 she's regularly shown in directories, etc., as doing both music and photography, but by 1885 only music is mentioned.

There are some examples of her work in Yale Library's archives  https://archives.yale.edu/repositories/11/resources/811/collection_...

Although I don't live in Glasgow now, 2 Lyndedoch Place is just round the corner from where I went to school in Glasgow and three doors down from a relative, so happy to continue to help with research. Like Rose I'd love to see the CdV and to know whether the writing on the back is from the time or been added later.

Best wishes, Anne 

Thank you Anne and Rose. This is the portrait - just a snap of it with my phone (it hasn't been imaged properly yet)

I am wondering what you think of the colouring of it? Despite Mrs Browning saying she was a 'colourist' I don't think she did this. It is an usual item as it is part of an album of UK CDVs by different photographers/studios which all look as if they have been coloured by the same person. I suspect that person is the artist Eileen Mayo who donated the album to the museum in the 1970s: https://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/agent/1499

Unfortunately, if anyone thought to ask Mayo about it they didn't record it in the museum records.

Here is the portrait out of the album frame -

My main thought on the colouring is that the style looks more like that of someone who may have been a painter than by someone whose job it was to add colours to mono photographs - the flowers and landscape in particular. Theresa Browning's brother was an artist from the age of 16, so that was probably her training rather than in a photographer's studio. the image itself is rather strange - if it's a studio photograph, the landscape is a painted backdrop; if it was taken in the person's house, why would you take the photo into the light? But if it's not taken or coloured by TB, why put her name on the back of it? Is that handwriting anywhere else?  For what it's worth the landscape at the back looks a bit like England's Lake District ... Scrabbling for clues, where are the other CdVs from or are they anonymous? 

50 CDVs in the album pretty much all from Glasgow photographers such as: 

'J. H. Kay, / Photographer, 57 Arglye Street / Glasgow'.

'Stuart. Photographer. / 120 Buchanan Street. / Glasgow'.

'Mackay. / Portrait Painter & Photographer / Royal Galleries. 125 St Vincent Street. Glasgow.'

'T. Rodger / St. Andrews'

'A. Robertson / Photographer / 88 Glassford St / Glasgow'

'Barr, / 52 West Nile St / Glasgow'.

'The City Photographic Rooms. / James Duncan, / 57 Argyle Street, / Glasgow'.

'Bowman. Photo. 65 Jamaica St. Glasgow'.

'Anderson, Photo, 4 St. Enoch Sqr'.

'Turnbull & Son. / 75 Jamaica Street. / Glasgow.'

'Alexr Ayton, / Photographer / Londonderry.'

'T. R. H. Dalrymple / Photographer, / Stranraer.'

'Buell & Bigden, 210 Main St.'

'The Belfast Photographic Studio, 61 High St / Thomas H. Reilly / Photographer.'.



Anne Strathie said:

My main thought on the colouring is that the style looks more like that of someone who may have been a painter than by someone whose job it was to add colours to mono photographs - the flowers and landscape in particular. Theresa Browning's brother was an artist from the age of 16, so that was probably her training rather than in a photographer's studio. the image itself is rather strange - if it's a studio photograph, the landscape is a painted backdrop; if it was taken in the person's house, why would you take the photo into the light? But if it's not taken or coloured by TB, why put her name on the back of it? Is that handwriting anywhere else?  For what it's worth the landscape at the back looks a bit like England's Lake District ... Scrabbling for clues, where are the other CdVs from or are they anonymous? 

And two more by Mrs Browning with different addresses:

'Mrs Wm Browning / Photographist / & Colourist / 16 South [Hanover?] Street / George's Square / Glasgow / Copies may be taken / when [handed.?].'.

'Mrs Browning / Photographer / & Colourist / 127 Paisley Road / Glasgow'.

I will post photos.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

© 2021   Created by Michael Pritchard.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service