British photographic history

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A question for those with knowledge on Elliott & Fry cartes... Was the 'Copyright' caption on cdv mounts started being added after certain date or was it randomly used/not used after its inception? More specifically, is the 'Copyright' caption a good method to date their cartes in addition to studio addresses?

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Hello Jimmy

In general cards which are copyrighted by any photographer are not the run of the mill portraits , but would be more likely to be CDV's of celebrities which have been copyrighted in order to prevent other photographers making pirate copies of the celebrities .

Graham Wood 

Jimmy, I concur with Graham but cannot suggest a beginning date for use of the copyright inscription, however studio addresses in the case of Elliott & Fry are of little use in dating as they were at 55 Baker St from 1863 until 1911. Ron Cosens is working on a dating guide to the firm's output in connection with his on line dating wizzard for cdvs Cheers! Marcel

Hi Graham, Marcel... yes but what got me thinking about this was the fact that some 'celebrities' CDVs have the copyright and some others don't.

I've seen 'Celebrities' mount variations with Copyright/Square, Copyright SQ and plain with Square and SQ addresses...Maybe these mounts were used randomly and there's no relation to dates of production and variations.





Jimmy, you can find some of Elliott and Fry's copyright registrations by searching the National Archives website, for example: and Cheers! Marcel


In answer to your specific question The National Archives has a useful information for researchers sheet on copyright and Stationers Hall which will help. 

Excellent piece of advice Michael. Thank you.

In my preliminary and rather rudimentary study of the London Stereoscopic and Photographic Company,

I found that most of the distinct card designs from the 1860s and 1870s existed both in versions with and without the "Copyright" notice.  Although I can't make any categorical statements, I gained the distinct impression that those embellished with the word "Copyright" were of famous, or at least notable, subjects, and had been produced in some quantity, for commercial sale, while those without it were ordinary carte de visite portraits taken at the usual sittings for regular customers of the studio.  I found far fewer examples of "copyrighted" cartes de visite from the 1880s, and almost none from the 1890s.


Regards, Brett


That's a great resource on the LSPC you have created. I have toyed with the idea of such a listing as I have a lot of their cartes including many of celebrities and also thought of attempting a check list but I have too many other things on the boil and need to focus on those. I asked Elena Vidal when I bumped into her in London last year whether she was interested in the LSC cdvs given that she and Brian May have resurrected the LSC name due to their interest in their stereoviews but it appears they intend focussing on the firms stereo history and not really its other photography.

Cheers! Marcel, Brisbane, Australia

this is an interesting comment and, as Marcel says, I have looked at dating
E&F cdv by using the mount designs as well as the reference numbers and
came to the conclusion, not yet proven, that there were TWO sets of reference
numbers - one for Elliott and one for Fry maybe? I have over 100 DATED examples
of their cdv so would be happy to work with you Jimmy to sort this out. I am
not convinced that the cdv marked 'registered' all relate to famous people or
even photos worth publishing/selling. Maybe a prestige thing for the
photographer or even for the sitter? Ron

Hi Ron, just sent you a message. Thanks for taking the time to help with this 'issue'. Jimmy

Hi, just sent you a conclusion to the examination of over 100 dated E&F cdv and over 50 E&F cdv portraits of famous people.

Copyright almost certainly used only for 'celebrities' worth reproducing and selling and of no use in dating ' ordinary' portraits. Ron
Jimmy Leiderman said:

Hi Ron, just sent you a message. Thanks for taking the time to help with this 'issue'. Jimmy


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