J. Beattie - Clifton

12229760281?profile=RESIZE_400xKia ora, can anyone give a rough date for these portraits? They are painted CDVs. I haven't been able to find any others online and only a liitle bt of information about Beattie.

Thanks, Lissa

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  • Hi Lissa

    His business moved from Leicester to Clifton in 1858 and he retired on 30th April 1868.  We have the following notes on him at National Galleries of Scotland:

    'Photographer in Clifton, Bristol. Born Scotland 1821. Studio in Brampton Road, Huntingdon 1854. Studio in Leicester October 1856 - January 1858. Opened his 'Photographic Institution' at the Triangle, Queen's Road, Bristol in March 1858. In the notices published in the Bristol Mercury at the time he claims to have had 12 years experience. Exhibited at the Bristol School of Practical Art's Industrial Exhibition in September 1858. Moved to 25, Triangle, Bristol in April 1860 and business now described as Beattie's Portrait Rooms. The new premises had a large glass studio, separate ladies' and gentlemen's wating rooms and a specimen room and employed three artists 'both French and English'. New premises opened at Strathearn House, 'next the Victoria Rooms, Clifton' in March 1863. Introduced the Wolthytype process in November 1864. Pirated versions of his work 'The Lady Amateur', in which he had registered the copyright were in circulation in 1865. Bought 8 Pembroke Place, Clifton in February 1867 fro £665. Announced his retirement 'on 30th April' in February 1868. Partnership with Thomas Bark dissolved May 1868. Occupation listed on 1871 census as 'income from houses'. A believer in spiritualism, he wrote in 1872 to the Spiritualist magazine to debunk Hudson's spirit photographs. He spent three years working with Dr. Thomson of Edinburgh and taking several hundred photographs at seances in an attempt to document spirit apparitions. Resident at Westbourne Place 1870, Richmond Hill 1874. Estate of £2139 10s probated on 17 November 1883 in favour of his widow Naomi.'

    His business was carried on by Cyrus Voss Bark and the Thomas Bark with whom he was in partnership may have been Cyrus's father (or possibly brother) given his age.  The Barks were from Leicester where Beattie had had a studio in the late 1850s and may have been known to him prior to his coming to Clifton.

    • Thank you!


  •  Are you sure these are painted CDVs? They look more like cased painted salt prints from the 1850s or 1860s to me. I have similar cased painted salt prints from Claudet and Kilburn. 

    • Thanks Martin. Good point - no I'm not sure they are albumen. Not so used to seeing salt prints in this part of the world so I will have another look.


  • And here's information on his origins ... https://www.villagecrier.co.uk/john_beattie.html


    John Beattie of Kilnockie
    The Village Crier is a non-profit making newsletter serving the people of Abernethy and Aberargie and surrounding area, published by a committee of u…
  • I've also found this which mentions Beattie, but is mainly about Bark, who was apparently much younger https://ghostofthedoll.co.uk/tracingghosts/leesisters/the-spinsters...)%20from%20March%201863.


    Victorian Photographers | Bristol
    These Victorian photographic portraits were taken in Bristol. Can you help identify anyone?
  • I've had a quick look at the British Newspaper Archives and from what I can see J. Beattie (male) worked with T. Bark and the partnership was dissolved in 1868. He was obviously well-thought of as in October 1868 another photographer advertised themselves as having been his assistant for five years. In 1867, in another astablishment, his life-size coloured photograph of the Mayor of Bristol was exhibited to favourable comment and he's described as a (photographic) artist, which suggests that colour may have been his speciality. If I'm not mistaken, that's the masonic symbol beside the word Clifton, so he may have had a ready group of customers and you may be able to find more about him on Masconic records. It may be another 'J. Beattie' in Bristol, but there's also someone of that name in the involved in the spiritualist movement there. It might be worth contacting a local history society in Clifton as there may be information of him there (while I've been typing this Gael Newton has just posted something along the latter line). Hope that helps. 

  • Beattie in Bristol is not as I recall related to the Beatties in Tasmania  info at https://archives.cliftonbridge.org.uk/beattie-john

    cheers Gael


    Beattie, John, (1820 - 1883), photographer - Clifton Suspension Bridge Archives
    Clifton Suspension Bridge Archives holds collections relating to the history of the Bridge.
    • yes - that's right


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