Hastings Photographers (Boning)

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Professional Photographers in Hastings

Robert Boning - Boning & Co. - Boning & Small - Charles James Small

Robert Boning (c1826-1878) - Active as a Photographer in St. Leonards-on-Sea between 1863 and 1878

The Family of Robert Boning

Robert Boning was born in the parish of St Margaret, Westminster, around 1826. Robert was the son of Dorothy Butler and Robert Boning senior, a government official who worked for the Ecclesiastical Commission (Church Commissioners). Robert Boning senior (born c1791, Cambridge) had married Dorothy Butler (born 1795, Alwington, Devon), the daughter of Ann and Philip Butler, at St Marylebone Church, London on 7th February 1818. Robert Boning junior, who was born around 1826, appears to have been the eldest surviving son of Robert and Dorothy Boning. Robert Boning had two elder sisters, Mary Ann Elizabeth Boning (born 1818, London), who married in 1844, and Jane Elizabeth Boning (born c1820, Westminster) who, in 1840, married William Fraser (born c1815, Croydon, Surrey), a manufacturer and exporter of clothing. Robert Boning junior's two younger brothers Philip Boning (born c1830, Westminster) and John Boning (born c1831, Westminster) were both drapers. John Boning went on to run a drapery business in Great Yarmouth and Philip Boning became a woollen draper in Ipswich.

   
[ABOVE] Portrait of Mrs Dorothy Boning (formerly Butler), the mother of the photographer Robert Boning. [ABOVE] Portrait of Robert Boning senior, the father of the photographer Robert Boning.

PHOTOS : Courtesy of Neil Valentine

When the 1851 census was taken, Robert Boning was residing with his parents and a younger brother at 13 Great George Street, Westminster, the London office of the Commission for Building New Churches. Robert's sixty year old father, Robert Boning senior, gives his occupation on the census return as a "Government Office Keeper to the Church Building Commissioners". Robert Boning junior was also employed by the Ecclesiastical Commission and is entered on the census return as a "Clerk to the Church Building Commissioners", aged 24. The Church Commissioners had been set up in 1818 to provide new churches for the growing urban population which had spread rapidly since the Industrial Revolution. Sharing the living quarters at the Church Commissioners' office in Great George Street was Robert's mother, fifty-six year old Mrs Dorothy Boning, and his younger brother John Boning, a twenty year old "Silk Warehouseman". Staying with the Boning family at 13 Great George Street at the time of the 1851 census was teenager Henry Ashford (born c1834, Sproughton, Suffolk), a seventeen year old "Ship's Broker".

Henry Ashford, who was staying with the Robert Boning senior and his family at the time of the 1851 census, was the youngest son of Elizabeth Bristo and Robert Ashford, a farmer who owned Charity Farm near Sproughton, a Suffolk village on the outskirts of Ipswich. Robert Ashford (born c1789) had married Elizabeth Bristo (born c1801) in Ipswich in 1822. At least five children resulted from this union. Henry Ashford (born c1834) had three brothers, Robert Ashford junior (born c1830), Thomas Bristo Ashford (born c1831), and Edward Ashford and an elder sister, Elizabeth Bristo Ashford (born c1826). Henry Ashford's sister, Elizabeth Bristo Ashford was later to become the wife of Robert Boning.

Robert Boning married Elizabeth Bristo Ashford (born c1826) in her home village of Sproughton, Suffolk, early in 1853. [The marriage of Robert Boning and Elizabeth Bristo Ashford was registered in the Suffolk district of Samford during the First Quarter of 1853]. At the time of his marriage to Elizabeth Ashford, Robert's father, Robert Boning senior, was going through a difficult time. In 1853, Robert Boning senior, described as an "Office Keeper of Great George Street, Westminster" was declared an "insolvent debtor". In 1856, the Church Commissioners, the body that employed Robert Boning and his father, was dissolved and the work of the Church Building Commission was taken over by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. It was around this time that Robert Boning changed his career path and became a professional photographer.

Henry Boning - only son of Robert and Elizabeth Boning

Henry Ashford Boning, the only son of Robert and Elizabeth Boning, was born in Brixton, South London, in 1854. [The birth of Henry Ashford Boning was registered in the South London district of Lambeth during the 4th Quarter of 1854].

At the time of the 1861 census, Harry Boning was living with his mother at Copyhold Farm in Cuckfield, Sussex. On the census return, Elizabeth Boning, Henry's mother, is described as "Farming 126 acres - Employing 2 Men, 1 Boy". When the 1861 census was taken, Robert Boning, Henry's father, was away from home visiting his brother Philip Boning, a woollen draper with a shop in Ipswich. Although, Robert Boning was still earning a living from photography, it appears that he was deriving some income from the farm in Cuckfield and a drapery business.( On the 1861 census return, Robert Boning's occupation is given as "woollen draper").

When the 1871 census was taken, Henry Boning was living with a farmer named Thomas Keeble in Tattingstone, Suffolk. On the 1871 census, Henry Boning's occupation is given as "learning farming", so presumably he pursued a career in agriculture or animal husbandry.

No trace of Henry Boning can be found in subsequent censuses or in the records of deaths and marriages in England and Wales, so it is possible that he emigrated from England between 1871 and 1881.

[ABOVE] The trade plate of  the photographer Robert Boning when he was operating the photographic studio at 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea, Sussex (c1864).

[ABOVE] Portrait of Elizabeth Bristo Ashford (1826-1914), the daughter of Elizabeth Bristo and Robert Ashford of Charity Farm, Sproughton, photographed by Robert Boning around 1865. Elizabeth Bristo Ashford married Robert Boning in 1853. Elizabeth's brothers, Thomas Bristo Ashford and Henry Ashford were active as photographic dealers and publishers in the 1850s and 1860s. In the late 1850s, Elizabeth's younger brother Henry Ashford was in partnership with her husband Robert Boning in a company producing stereoscopic slides and photographic paper.

[PHOTO : Courtesy of Mrs Helen Dunn]

[ABOVE] Portrait of Henry Boning, only son of Elizabeth Bristo Ashford and the photographer Robert Boning (c1870)

[PHOTO : Courtesy of Mrs Helen Dunn]

 
Robert Boning - Photographic Artist in London (1856-1862)

[ABOVE] A cased portrait of a girl holding a book, photographed by Robert Boning of 4 Leicester Square, London (c1857)  Robert Boning had a photographic portrait studio at  4 Leicester Square, London, between 1856 and 1857 (see the advertisement from 1857 on the right).

[ABOVE] An advertisement for Robert Boning, Photographer and Stereoscopist, of 4 Leicester Square, London, published in Thomas Sutton's Photographic Notes on 15th February, 1857.
 

A Cased "Collodion Positive" (Ambrotype) Portrait by Robert Boning of 4 Leicester Square, London (c1857)

[ABOVE] The gilt trade plate "R. Boning, 4 Leicester Square" on the front of a cased portrait of a young woman produced by the photographic artist  Robert Boning of 4 Leicester Square, London (c1857)  Robert Boning had a photographic portrait studio at  4 Leicester Square, London, between 1856 and 1857.

[ABOVE] An enlarged photograph of the gilt trade plate of the London photographic artist Robert Boning. Robert Boning operated a photographic portrait studio at 4 Leicester Square, London, between 1856 and 1857.

[ABOVE] A cased collodion positive portrait of a young woman by Robert Boning of 4 Leicester Square, London (c1857).

[RIGHT] A collodion positive (ambrotype) portrait of a young woman by Robert Boning of 4 Leicester Square, London (c1857). Robert Boning operated a photographic portrait studio at 4 Leicester Square, London, between 1856 and 1857.
 
 
 

Robert Boning - Photographer and Dealer in Stereoscopic Photographs (1856-1862)

By 1856, Robert Boning had established a photography business at 4 Leicester Square, London. In the public notices published in the photographic press during the late 1850s, Robert Boning described himself as a "Photographist and Stereoscopist", yet it is clear from the advertisements that Boning was also a supplier of photographic materials and a dealer in stereoscopic photographs. The advertisements for Robert Boning's business, published in Thomas Sutton's journal "Photographic Notes" during the early months of 1857, give details of Boning's albumenized photographic paper, stereoscopes and "stereoscopic views supplied to the Trade mounted and unmounted". There is evidence that Robert Boning produced his own stereoscopic views, but he also purchased stereoscopic negatives created by other photographers and sold the resulting stereoscopic photographs to retail outlets. In 1857, Robert Boning published "a series of well-chosen Views in the County of Suffolk", which he presumably photographed himself. Robert Boning had associations with the county of Suffolk through his wife Elizabeth and her four brothers, who originated from the Suffolk village of Sproughton.

By 1859, Robert Boning had been joined in his photographic business by Elizabeth's younger brother, Henry Ashford (born c1834, Sproughton, Suffolk). Now trading as Robert Boning & Co., Robert Boning and Henry Ashford manufactured and published hand-coloured photographs and stereoscopic slides at their new business premises at 7 Queen's Head Passage, Newgate Street, London. According to an advertisement of 1859, Boning & Co. produced stereoscopic photographs of "Groups, Views and Statuary, Wholesale and for Exportation". Boning and Ashford's company also continued to sell stereoscope viewers and "Boning's Pure Albumen Paper". When the 1861 census was taken, Henry Ashford was recorded as a "Photographer" at 7 Queen's Head Passage, Newgate Street, City of London. In December 1861, after two years of producing stereo photographs at 7 Queens Head Passage, Robert Boning and Henry Ashford dissolved their business partnership. Henry Ashford joined forces with his older brother  Thomas Bristo Ashford (born c1831,Sproughton, Suffolk) to form the photographic publishing firm of Ashford Brothers in Newgate Street, London. (See panel below). By 1862, Robert Boning had established two photographic studios, one at 112 Cheapside in the City of London, the other at 13 Wellington Square in Chelsea's Kings Road.

[ABOVE] The trademarks of the photographer Robert Boning as featured on the mounts of stereographic cards produced in London during the early 1860s. From 1856 until 1861, Robert Boning ran a business in London, supplying stereoscopic cards and slides to retail outlets. Between 1856 and 1858, Robert Boning was based at 4 Leicester Square, London. From 1859 until December 1861, Robert Boning was in partnership with his brother-in-law, Henry Ashford at 7 Queens Head Passage, Newgate Street, London.

[ABOVE] Stereographic cards produced during the early 1860s.

 

Robert Boning's Stereoscopic Photographs

[ABOVE] An advertisement for Robert Boning, Photographer and Stereoscopist, of 4 Leicester Square, London, published in Thomas Sutton's Photographic Notes on 15th February, 1857.

[ABOVE] An advertisement for Robert Boning, Photographer and Stereoscopist, of 4 Leicester Square, London, published in Thomas Sutton's Photographic Notes on 15th March, 1857. Robert Boning specialised in the production of hand-coloured stereoscopic slides featuring scenes from famous plays and novels (e.g. The Vicar of Wakefield and She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith.- SEE BELOW) and views of statuary and memorials. This advertisement refers to a photograph of "Hogarth's Tomb", the memorial to the famous satirical artist and painter William Hogarth (1697-1764). The stone monument in St Nicholas's Churchyard, Chiswick, carries an epitaph composed by the famous English actor David Garrick (1717-1779). The inscription begins, "Farewell, great painter of mankind."

[ABOVE] An advertisement for Robert Boning & Co., Manufacturer of Stereoscopes and Stereoscopic Slides at 7 Queen's Head Passage, Newgate Street, London, published in The Photographic News in January 1859.

[ABOVE] The back and front of a stereoscopic card produced by Robert Boning of London. This stereo card was one of a series illustrating the story of The Vicar of Wakefield, an 18th Century novel by Oliver Goldsmith. This particular picture features Olivia Primrose, one of the daughters of  Dr Charles Primrose, the eponymous Vicar of Wakefield. Printed on the reverse of the card is the picture credit "R. Boning. Photo."(c1862).

 

Coloured Stereoscopic Photographs by Robert Boning

[ABOVE] A stereoscopic card featuring a hand-coloured photograph of two country girls climbing over a stile by Robert Boning of London (c1860). Unlike other stereoscopic slides produced by Robert Boning, the photograph was taken on location in the countryside. Boning was better known for his stereo photographs featuring scenes from plays and novels, which were taken on stage sets (SEE BELOW). The creator of this stereo card is identified by a blind stamp, embossed "BONING" on the left-hand side of the mount.

[ABOVE] A stereoscopic card featuring a hand-coloured photograph by Robert Boning of London (c1860). This stereo card was one of a series illustrating the story of "She Stoops to Conquer", an 18th Century novel by Oliver Goldsmith. This particular stereo card carries on the reverse the printed caption "She Stoops to Conquer, Act III, Scene I : Miss Hardcastle - 'Perhaps the other gentleman called,Sir' " and the picture credit "R.Boning.Photo".
 
Ashford Brothers & Co. of Newgate Street - Photographic Publishers of Celebrity Cartes

The partnership between Robert Boning and his brother-in-law Henry Ashford was dissolved in December 1861. After parting from Robert Boning, Henry Ashford (born c1834, Sproughton, Suffolk) set up a photographic publishing company with his older brother Thomas Bristo Ashford (born c1831,Sproughton, Suffolk). The photographic publishing company initially went under the name of Ashford Brothers and operated from 76 Newgate Street, City of London. In the 1861 census, Henry Ashford had been described as a "Photographer", but it is clear that Henry and Thomas Ashford were primarily photographic publishers during the 1860s.

Ashford Brothers of Newgate Street, London published carte-de-visite portraits of famous celebrities of the day that had been taken by other professional photographers. During the 1860s, Ashford Brothers published individual photographic portraits of popular celebrities, including Florence Nightingale, the reformer of hospital nursing, Anthony Trollope the novelist, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, a Baptist preacher and religious writer, Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, the philanthropist and social reformer, and Giuseppe Garibaldi, the Italian national hero. The original portraits had been taken in the studios of some of the most well-known professional photographers, such as William Edward Kilburn and Henry Hering. The firm of Ashford Brothers would act as the photographers' agents, reproducing the photographic prints and distributing the finished celebrity cartes to stationers and other retail outlets.

Ashford Brothers & Co. became well-known for their "composite cartes", carte-de-visite photographs featuring anything from a dozen to a thousand small portraits on a single small card. The composite cartes included titles such as "Reigning Sovereigns and Principal Royal Personages of the Day",  featuring 73 portraits of European Royalty, "Popular Actresses" a series of cartes carrying two dozen actresses on each card and "Photographic Portraits of the Most Celebrated Personages of the Age", a photographic print containing "upwards of Five Hundred Portraits". The most notable production of Ashford Brothers & Co. was "The Great Sensation Card", a composite carte-de-visite showing more than one thousand portraits of "Living and Historical Celebrities".

A card produced by Ashford Brothers featuring about 500 portraits of "eminent persons" was the subject of a court case in May 1863 at which a stationer was accused of "photographic piracy". Pirated copies of the "Eminent Persons" carte were being sold at Thomas Wilson's stationery business in St John's Wood. During the court case it was revealed that "Mr Ashford (the legitimate agent of the creator of the photograph) was selling the print at the rate of 70 to 100 dozen a day". It was reported that the genuine "Eminent Persons" cartes supplied by Messrs. Ashford, were printed on the back "Ashford Brothers, 76 Newgate Street ", yet the pirated versions had no name or address printed on the reverse ("Photographic News", 29th May 1863, page 261).

Ashford Brothers & Co. were also well-known for their "novelty cartes". The firm produced elaborate cartes-de-visite which served to introduce and conclude the pages of a family photograph album. Ashford Brothers & Co. published special introductory cards which consisted of a welcoming verse surrounded by a decorative border (e.g. a wreath of flowers). The firm also published distinctive "End Cartes", which would be displayed on the final pages of a family photograph album. Like the introductory cards, these "End Cartes" comprised a verse surrounded by an illustration.

The partnership between Henry Ashford and Thomas Bristo Ashford (trading as Ashford Brothers & Co.) was dissolved on 28th September 1867. It appears that, between 1867 and 1868, the two brothers worked independently in photographic publishing. Henry Ashford worked as a photographic dealer in Queen Street, Cheapside, London, before being made bankrupt at the end of December 1868. Apparently, not long afterwards, Henry Ashford emigrated to Australia. It seems that Thomas Bristo Ashford continued as a photographic publisher at 97 Newgate Street, London up until 1876.

From 1877, Thomas Bristo Ashford earned his living as a "Fancy Stationer" at 97 Newgate Street, London. The 1881 census records forty-nine year old Thomas Bristo Ashford and his wife Henrietta at their residence at 20 Bellefields Road, Lambeth [ Thomas Bristo Ashford had married Henrietta Ashford (born 1824, Witnesham, Suffolk) in 1857 ]. When the 1891 census was taken ten years later, Thomas B. Ashford was still working as a fancy stationer and living in Lambeth. Thomas Ashford's wife Henrietta had died in Lambeth the year before at the age of sixty-six.

By 1894, Thomas Ashford was working a farm at Clement's Hill, Broxted, near Dunmow in Essex. Thomas Ashford's father, Robert Ashford, had been a farmer in Suffolk and in the last six years of his life Thomas followed the same occupation.


Thomas Bristo Ashford died at his farm in Broxted, Essex in 1901, aged 70.

[ABOVE] The trade plate of Ashford Brothers & Co., Photographic Publishers of 76 Newgate Street, London (c1866). This firm of  Ashford Brothers & Co. was established by Henry Ashford and his brother Thomas Bristo Ashford around 1862. Initially known as Ashford Brothers this firm of photographic publishers went under the name of Ashford Brothers & Co. from around 1864.

[ABOVE] Five Hundred Photographic Portraits of the Most Celebrated Personages of the Age - a composite photo-montage published by Ashford Brothers & Co. of 76 Newgate Street, London (c1864). A similar photo-montage of Five Hundred Eminent Persons, created by the professional photographer Frederick Holland Mares of Grafton Street Dublin, was published by the Ashford Brothers around 1862. Both these multi-pictured cartes were subject to piracy. In May 1863, the photographer Frederick Holland Mares and the Ashford Brothers, Mares' London agents and publishers, took legal action against a stationer who was selling pirated copies of Five Hundred Eminent Persons at his London shop.
 
Series of multi-pictured cartes de-visite, published by Ashford Brothers & Co. between 1862 and 1867
"Popular Actors" (24 Portraits on each card)
"Popular Actresses (24 Portraits on each card)
"Operatic Prima Donnas" (20 Portraits on each card)
"Musical & Vocal Celebrities" (20 Portraits on each card)
"Popular Operatic Composers of the Day"  ( 7 Portraits per card )
 

Click on the link below to view a selection of celebrity and novelty cartes produced by Ashford Brothers & Co.

Celebrity and Novelty Cartes by Ashford Brothers & Co.

 

Robert Boning's Photographic Portrait Studios in London and St Leonards-on-Sea (1863-1878)

Robert Boning's Photographic Studios in London

Around 1862, Robert Boning opened two photographic portrait studios in London, one at 112 Cheapside in the City of London, the other at 13 Wellington Square, Kings Road, Chelsea. By the following year, Robert Boning had formed a company under the name of Robert Boning & Co. The studio in Chelsea was enlarged and, by 1863, the firm of Boning & Co. was listed in London trade directories at 13 & 16 Wellington Square, Kings Road and 112 Cheapside, London E.C.  As with most professional photographers in this period, the bulk of Robert Boning's business was in the production of carte-de-visite portraits - small photographic portraits mounted on cards measuring roughly 2 1/2 inches by 4 1/4 inches ( 6.3 cm by 10.5 cm). This format of photographic portrait was first devised in France and as the card mounts were about the same size as conventional calling cards, they were dubbed  'carte de visite' - the French term for visiting card.

Robert Boning's Photographic Studio in St. Leonards-on-Sea

[ABOVE] A photograph of Verulam Place taken from Hastings Pier around 1905. Robert Boning's photographic studio was located at 10 Verulam Place (marked with a B on the photograph above). Hastings Pier was built directly opposite Verulam Place between 1869 and 1872. By the time this photograph was taken around 1905, the photographic studio at 10 Verulam Place had closed and the building was being used as a "Fancy Depot".
[LEFT] A map of Hastings & St Leonards showing the location of Robert Boning's photographic studio (marked by a red spot) at 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea. Verulam Place was situated on the seafront on the boundary between Hastings and St Leonards-on-Sea. Hastings Pier was built directly opposite Verulam Place between 1869 and 1872.

By the end of 1863, Robert Boning had opened a photographic portrait studio at 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on Sea, Sussex. (Verulam Place had been built in the late 1830s on the boundary between St Leonards and Hastings and was possibly named after James Grimston, the Earl of Verulam and Member of Parliament for St Albans. Verulam was the modern variation of Verulamium, the Roman name for St Albans). Verulam Place was in a prime position on the seafront of Hastings & St Leonards. Hastings Pier was later constructed directly opposite Verulam Place. The opening of Hastings Pier in August 1872 probably boosted Robert Boning's trade in carte-de-visite portraits.

[ABOVE] An advertisement for Robert Boning's photographic portrait studio at 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea, which appeared in the Hastings & St Leonards News on 17th June, 1864. The text of the advertisement refers to the variety of poses offered in the carte-de-visite format at Boning's portrait studio. According to later advertisements, the studio at 10 Verulam Olace was established in 1863.

[ABOVE] An advertisement for Mr. Robert Boning, Photographer of 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards, which appeared in the Hastings & St Leonards News during January 1865. The advertisement mentions particularly Robert Boning's speciality in "Children's Portraits". (SEE EXAMPLES BELOW).

Robert Boning's Photographic Studio in Regent Street, London

Around 1866, Robert Boning took over a long-established photographic studio at 162 Regent Street, London, but the studio was sold a year or so later. Robert Boning decided to close his London studios and concentrate on his photography business in St Leonards-on-Sea. In the mid-1860s, Robert Boning and his wife Elizabeth were residing at 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards and advertisements from this period state that Mr Boning was "personally in attendance daily from Ten till Four, at 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards".

[ABOVE] Robert Boning's public announcement placed in the Hastings & St Leonards News on 16th October 1868, advising customers that he had closed his London studio at 162 Regent Street and was now "personally in attendance daily" at his studio at 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards.

Robert Boning involved himself in the social life of Hastings & St Leonards, being particularly associated with fox hunting and the East Sussex Hunt. In 1868, Robert Boning was serving as Co-Treasurer of the East Sussex Hunt.

By 1871, Robert Boning had left the living quarters attached to his studio in Verulam Place and was residing at a house called "White Friars" in the West Hill area of Hastings. The 1871 census records Robert Boning, his wife Elizabeth and his wife's mother, Mrs Elizabeth Ashford, at "White Friars", Hastings. Mrs Elizabeth Ashford, Robert Boning's mother-in-law, is described on the census return as a seventy year old "Farmer's Widow". Robert Boning is entered on the census return as a "Photographer", aged 45. Also living at Robert Boning's house in Hastings were his niece Elizabeth Fraser (born 1846, Ipswich) and his studio assistant, nineteen year old Joseph Benson, described by the census enumerator as "an articled pupil and Photographer". ( Joseph Francis Benson, who was born in Marylebone, London in 1851, went on to establish his own photographic studio at 24 Grand Parade, St Leonards in 1878 ).

[BELOW] Robert Boning's advertisements in the 1860s and 1870s mention his speciality in "Children's Portraits".
[ABOVE] A vignette portrait of three girls, photographed at the studio of Robert Boning, 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1872). Negative No.10,701. [ABOVE] A vignette portrait of a mother and child, photographed at the studio of Robert Boning & Co., 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1872).

Around 1872, Robert Boning was joined by Charles James Small (born 1836, Bermondsey, South London), a photographer who had spent the previous twelve years in South Africa. Charles Small appears to have been taken on as a junior partner and from around 1873 the studio at 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on Sea, went under the name of Robert Boning & Co. A year or so later, Charles James Small became a full partner in Robert Boning's business and from this date the company was known as Boning & Small. [SEE BELOW for further details about Charles James Small]

Early in 1878, Boning & Small opened a London branch studio at 22 Baker Street, near Portman Square in West London. It appears that Boning & Small divided the management of the two studios between them - Robert Boning supervising the studio at 22 Baker Street, London, and Charles Small running the
studio at 10 Verulam Place in St Leonards-on-Sea.

Robert Boning, who had worked as a photographer in St Leonards-on-Sea for a period of fifteen years, died at the London branch studio of Boning & Small on 25th May 1878, aged 52. 

[ABOVE] The trade plate of Robert Boning, Photographer, 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1868)

[ABOVE] A carte-de-visite portrait of Reverend Josiah Wright (1824-1894) of Barham House, Hastings, photographed  Robert Boning of 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1868)
 

Mrs Elizabeth Boning (1826-1914)

[ABOVE] Portrait of Mrs Elizabeth Boning (1826-1914), the wife of the photographer Robert Boning. Elizabeth was the daughter of Elizabeth Bristo and Robert Ashford of Charity Farm, Sproughton in Suffolk. This portrait was photographed by Elizabeth's husband Robert Boning around 1865, a few years after the London-born photographer had established a photographic portrait studio in the Sussex seaside resort of St Leonards-on-Sea.

[PHOTO : Courtesy of Mrs Helen Dunn]

[ABOVE] Equestrian portrait of Mrs Elizabeth Boning (1826-1914), the wife of the St Leonards photographer Robert Boning.

[PHOTO : Courtesy of Mrs Helen Dunn]

[ABOVE] A full-length portrait of a young woman, photographed at the studio of Robert Boning & Co., 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1874). Negative No.14,293

[ABOVE] The trade plate of Robert Boning & Co., 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea, taken from the reverse of a cabinet card produced around 1873. Robert Boning's studio went under the name of Robert Boning & Co. after he was joined by photographer Charles James Small around 1872. When Charles James Small became a full partner in Robert Boning's business about 1874, the company's name was changed to Boning & Small.
 

[ABOVE] an extract from the National Probate Calendar for 1878 which gives details of the death of Robert Boning.    ( IMAGE : Courtesy of Neil Valentine )

Neil Valentine, a descendant of Robert Boning senior, has provided me with an extract from the National Probate Calendar for 1878 which gives details of the death of Robert Boning. An entry on the National Probate Calendar, dated 12th June 1878, reports that Robert Boning died on 25th May 1878 at 22 Baker Street, Portman Square, London. Robert Boning and his partner Charles James Small had only recently acquired the photographic portrait studio at 22 Baker Street, Portman Square (previously owned by the Southwell Brothers).

The probate notice of 1878 describes Robert Boning as a "Farmer", who had previously residing at Winfield House, Borough Green, Kent with his wife Elizabeth Bristo Boning.

 

Carte-de-visite portraits by Robert Boning of Verulam Place, St. Leonards

[ABOVE] A vignette portrait of an unknown man, photographed by Robert Boning of 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1864). Negative No.1,319 [ABOVE] The trade plate of Robert Boning of 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (1864). Negative No. 1,319. [ABOVE] A portrait of a seated man, photographed at the studio of Robert  Boning, 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1864). Negative No.1393 [ABOVE] A portrait of a seated man, photographed at the studio of Robert  Boning, 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1866). Negative No.3,226
[ABOVE] The trade plate of Robert Boning, Artist & Photographer of 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1868). Negative No.4,079. [ABOVE] A portrait of a seated woman, photographed at the studio of Robert Boning, 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1867). Negative No.3,686 [ABOVE] The trade plate of Robert Boning, Artist & Photographer of 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1869). Negative No.4,930. [ABOVE] A portrait of a young woman standing by her mother or aunt who sits writing at a desk, photographed at the studio of Robert Boning, 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1869). Inscribed on the reverse "Agnes Joanne Hallett with her mother or her aunt Agnes" . Negative No.4,954.
[ABOVE] A portrait of three girls and their mother, inscribed on the reverse "The Fishers, Cambridge". This group portrait was photographed at the studio of Robert Boning, 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1872). Negative No.8,509. [ABOVE] The trade plate of Robert Boning, Artist & Photographer of 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1872). Negative No.8,326.

[ABOVE] A portrait of a seated man reading a book, photographed at the studio of Robert Boning, 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1872). Negative No.8,326.

[ABOVE] A portrait of three girls, photographed at the studio of Robert Boning & Co., 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1877). Negative No.16,993.
 
Cabinet Cards and Carte-de-visite portraits by Robert Boning of Verulam Place, St. Leonards

[ABOVE] A vignette portrait of a young woman, photographed at the studio of Robert Boning, 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1872). Negative No.9,364.

 

 

[ABOVE] A carte-de-visite portrait of Miss Constance Mary Elmslie, photographed at the studio of Robert Boning, 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1872). Negative No.11,069. Constance Mary Elmslie, the daughter of James Augustus Elmslie and Mary Johanna Baumgardt, was born on 5th February 1857 in Paddington, London.Constance Elliott was aged about 15 when this photograph was taken around 1872 . Miss Constance Mary Elmslie married Reverend George Elliott in 1876, when she was 19. Constance's first husband,  died in 1891 when he was in his early forties. On 29th December 1892, his thirty-five year old widow married Major General Charles Benjamin Knowles, Commander of Armed Forces in Malta. The reverse of this carte is inscribed "C. M. K." (the initials of Mrs Constance Mary Knowles). [ABOVE] A vignette portrait of Emily Young, photographed at the studio of Robert Boning & Co., 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (1874). Negative No.18,595.

 

 

 

Cabinet Portraits by Robert Boning & Co. of 10 Verulam Place, St. Leonards

The Cabinet Portrait format was introduced in 1866 by London photographer Frederick Richard Window. The cabinet card was a photographic print mounted on a sturdy card measuring 41/4 inches by 61/2 inches (roughly 11cm x 17cm). Frederick Window believed the larger dimensions of the 'cabinet print' (4 inches by 51/2 inches or approximately 10.2 cm x 14.1 cm) would enable the professional photographer to demonstrate his technical and artistic skill and produce portraits of a higher quality than the small carte-de-visite format would allow. The cabinet photograph increased in popularity as the demand for carte-de-visite portraits fell.

[ABOVE] A cabinet portrait of a seated young woman, photographed at the studio of Robert Boning & Co., 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1873).

[ABOVE] A vignette portrait of a young woman produced as a "Cabinet Portrait" by Robert Boning & Co., 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1873).

[ABOVE] The trade plate of Robert Boning & Co. of 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea, as shown on the reverse of a cabinet portrait produced around 1873.

[ABOVE] A cabinet portrait of three boys, photographed at the studio of Robert Boning & Co., 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (1875). Negative No.3,705.

 
Celebrity Portraits by Robert Boning, Robert Boning & Co. and Boning & Small
Names of members of the Nobility and other notable persons who were photographed by Robert Boning and Charles James Small at their studios in St. Leonards and London :
Victoria, Princess Royal of Prussia (1840-1901)
Princess Viktoria of Prussia (1866-1929)
Prince Waldemar of Prussia (1868-1879)
Princess Elizaveta Alexandrovna Bariatinskaia [Bariatinsky] (1826-1902)
Prince Vladimir Ivanovitch Bariatinsky (1815-1879)
James Henry Robert Innes-Ker, 6th Duke of Roxburghe (1816-1879)
Lady Laura Parker , Countess of Antrim, (1809-1883)
John Poyntz Spencer, 5th Earl Spencer (1835-1910)
Lady Frances Elizabeth Jocelyn, Viscountess Jocelyn (1820-1880)
Eleanor Percy, Duchess of Northumberland (1820-1911)
General Lord Alfred Henry Paget (1816-1888)
Charles Handfield Jones (1819-1890), physician and histologist
Miss Alice Leamar (1869-1950) , singer and dancer
Charles Albert Fechter (1824 -1879), actor
Thomas Henry Gartside Neville (1837-1910), actor and theatre manager
Richard Redgrave (1804-1888), Artist and Painter
Thomas Brassey (1836-1918), Member of Parliament for Hastings

[ABOVE] A portrait of Thomas Brassey (1836-1918), Liberal MP for Hastings, photographed at Boning & Small's studio at 25 Baker Street, London (c1878). Negative No.24,065.

 

Boning & Small - The Partnership of Robert Boning and Charles James Small

 
Charles James Small (1836-1886)

Charles James Small was born in Bermondsey, South London, either on 21st or 25th November 1836, the son of John and Susanna Small. Charles Small was baptised a few weeks later on 14th December 1836 at St Olave's Church, Bermondsey.

Around 1860, Charles James Small married Eliza Ann Percival, the daughter of Joseph and Eliza Percival of Stepney, East London. Eliza Ann Percival was born in Stepney on 2nd January 1837 and christened at the Independent Chapel, Bull Lane, Stepney on 1st March 1837. Eliza had an older brother named Joseph Percival, who had been born in Stepney three years earlier on 24th January 1834. After his marriage, Charles Small, his wife Eliza, and his brother-in-law Joseph Percival emigrated to South Africa. Charles and Eliza Small remained in South Africa for about twelve years, during which time two children were born. Eliza Mary Jane Small was born around 1864 in King William's Town, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. A son, Charles Small junior, was born in Little Namaqualand, Northern Cape Province, South Africa around 1868.

[ABOVE] The trade plate of Robert Boning & Co., Photographers to the Crown Princess of Prussia, 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1875).

By 1872, Charles James Small and his family had returned to England and had settled in the Sussex seaside resort of St Leonards-on-Sea. Two daughters were born in St Leonards-on-Sea - Lilian Small, whose birth was registered in the district of Hastings during the 3rd quarter of 1872, and Mabel Small who was born during the 3rd Quarter of 1874. It is possible that Charles James Small found employment as a photographer at the St Leonards studio of Robert Boning during this period. From 1873, the studio at 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on Sea, went under the name of Robert Boning & Co., and this probably marks Charles Small's entry into Robert Boning's business. Around 1874, Charles James Small became a partner in Robert Boning's business and from this date the company was known as Boning & Small. Around 1878, Boning & Small acquired the former studio of the Southwell Brothers at 22 Baker Street, London. In the Spring of 1878, Robert Boning, the senior partner in Boning & Small, died, but Charles Small continued to operate both branches under the name of Boning & Small.

Charles James Small struggled to make Boning & Small's two studios a financial success. Charles James Small  was declared bankrupt in October 1879 and again on 23rd September 1885, when it was revealed that he had liabilities totalling 8,354 ,while his assets were worth only 620. An application was made for the bankruptcy to be discharged on 21st October 1885.

Charles James Small, the surviving partner in the firm of Boning & Small, recruited Mrs Sophia Rogerson (1831-1908) to help manage the Verulam Place studio in St Leonards-on-Sea. Mrs Rogerson was a sister of the Southwell Brothers - William Henry Southwell (1823-1870), Edwin Southwell (1832-1882) and Frederick Southwell (1833-1883) - the photographers who had previously operated the photographic studio at 22 Baker Street, London. In the late 1870s, Mrs Rogerson had acted as Housekeeper at 10 Verulam Place and was in charge of the Reception Rooms leading to the photographic studio. When the 1881 census was taken on 3rd April 1881, Charles J. Small was residing with his wife and three daughters at 22 Baker Street, London, the site of the London branch studio of Boning & Small, and Mrs Sophia Rogerson is recorded as the Housekeeper at 10 Verulam Place, Hastings.

When Charles James Small died in Richmond, Surrey in 1886 at the age of 49, his widow Mrs Eliza Ann Small (1836-1910) inherited her late husband's photography business. Mrs Sophia Rogerson took over the running of the Boning & Small studio in Verulam Place. Mrs Rogerson appears to have purchased Boning & Small's branch studio in St Leonards-on-Sea from Charles Small's widow around 1888. Mrs Eliza Ann Small, the widow of Charles James Small, petitioned for liquidation on 25th March 1892, when the Baker Street branch of Boning & Small had debts of 714.

[ABOVE] The trade plate of Boning & Small, Photographers of 22 Baker Street, Portman Square, London & 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1884).

[ABOVE] The trade plate of Boning & Small, Photographers of 22 Baker Street, Portman Square, London & 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1886).

[ABOVE] The trade plate of Boning & Co., Photographers to the Crown Princess of Prussia, 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1878).

[ABOVE] A report on the inquest into the suicide of Joseph Percival, brother-in-law and employee of the photographer Charles James Small. (The Sussex Express, 8th November 1879).

[ABOVE] A further extract from the report on the inquest into the death of Joseph Percival, a book-keeper employed by the photographic firm of Boning & Small. In his evidence at the inquest, the photographer Charles James Small revealed that Joseph Percival was his wife's brother and that they had both spent 12 years in South Africa. Mrs Sophia Rogerson, who was in charge of the reception room at Boning & Small's studio in Verulam Place, St Leonards, also gave evidence at the Coroner's Inquest. Mrs Sophis Rogerson took over the running of  the Boning & Small photographic studio after the death of Charles James Small in 1886. ( The Sussex Express, 8th November 1879).

 

Boning & Small's Studio at 10 Verulam Place, St. Leonards-on-Sea

[ABOVE] A photograph of the east wing of the Grand Hotel in Verulam Place, St Leonards, showing, on the right, the photographic portrait studio of Boning & Small on the first-floor of 10 Verulam Place (c1888). The shop with the striped canvas awning on the ground floor of 10 Verulam Place was a Fancy Goods Depot owned by Mrs Hannah Harman. The Grand Hotel on the left was built in 1882, close to the entrance of Hastings Pier. The kiosk with the oriental-style domed roof stands at the entrance to the Pier. These buildings in Verulam Place were demolished in 1989 and the site is now occupied by Waverly Court, a modern block of flats. [ABOVE] A detail from the photograph illustrated on the left, showing the frontage of Boning & Small's photographic studio on the first floor of 10 Verulam Place, above Mrs Hannah Harman's Jet & Fancy Depot, a holiday souvenir shop. Examples of Boning & Small's photographic work can be seen displayed in the case below the painted sign "Boning & Small, Art Photographers". When this photograph was taken around 1888, both Robert Boning and his business partner James Small were dead and the studio was being run by Mrs Sophia Rogerson.

[ABOVE] A photograph of Verulam Place taken from Hastings Pier around 1905. Robert Boning's photographic studio was located at 10 Verulam Place (marked with a B on the photograph above). Hastings Pier was built directly opposite Verulam Place between 1869 and 1872. By the time this photograph was taken around 1905, the photographic studio at 10 Verulam Place had closed and the building was being used as a "Fancy Goods Depot".

[ABOVE] An aerial view photograph of the seafront at St Leonards-on-Sea, west of Hastings Pier. Robert Boning's photographic studio was located at 10 Verulam Place (marked with a B on the photograph above). Hastings Pier was designed by the architect and engineer Eugenius Birch (1818-1884) and was opened to the public on 5th August, 1872.

 

 

Boning & Small's Studios in St. Leonards-on-Sea  (1874-1888)

 

[ABOVE] An advertisement for Messrs. Boning' & Small, Artists and Photographers of 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea, which appeared in the Hastings & St Leonards Times on 8th December 1877. [RIGHT] The scale of charges at Boning' & Small's studio in St Leonards in 1876, extracted from an advertisement which appeared in Pike & Ivimy's Annual Hastings & St Leonards Directory (publication corrected to May 1876).

Price Ranges for Photographs produced by Boning & Small (1876)

Carte-de-visite Portraits

one copy: 5 shillings

 10s 6d for six copies

15 shillings per dozen

Duplicates : 1 shilling each

Vignette Carte-de-visite Portraits

one copy: 5 shillings

10s 6d for six copies

18 shillings per dozen

Duplicates : 1s 6d each

Cabinet Format

one copy: 15 shillings

30 shillings for six copies

 

Duplicates : 3s 6d each

Outdoor Photography

Large Size : 35 shillings each

Equestrian cartes-de-visite

21s for six copies

Private Residences : 42 shillings

Duplicates : 3s 6d each

 

Carte-de-visite portraits by Boning & Small of St. Leonards-on-Sea and London

 
[ABOVE] A vignette portrait of an unknown woman, photographed at Boning & Small's studio at 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1877). Negative No.16,575.

[ABOVE] The trade plate of Boning & Small of  10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (1878). Negative No. 19,061.

[ABOVE] A vignette portrait of an unknown woman, photographed at Boning & Co.'s studio at 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1878). Negative No.19,061. [ABOVE] A vignette portrait of bearded man, photographed at Boning & Small's studio at 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1878). Negative No.19,827.
[ABOVE] A vignette portrait of man with a fringe beard, photographed at Boning & Small's studio at 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1878). Negative No.21,111. [ABOVE] A vignette portrait of an unknown man, photographed at Boning & Small's studio at 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1880). Negative No.2,079. [ABOVE] A hand-coloured portrait of an unknown woman, photographed at Boning & Small's studio at 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1882). [ABOVE] A vignette portrait of Mr Charles Bright, photographed at Boning & Small's studio at 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1884). Negative No. 7,590.
[ABOVE] The trade plate of Boning & Small of 22 Baker Street, Portman Square, London and 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (1886). Negative No. 9,442. [ABOVE] A vignette portrait of an unknown man, photographed at Boning & Small's studio at 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1886). Negative No. 9,442. [ABOVE] A vignette portrait of an unknown woman, photographed at Boning & Small's studio at 22 Baker Street, London (c1888). [ABOVE] A vignette portrait of an unknown woman, photographed at Boning & Small's studio at 22 Baker Street, London (c1888).
   

Cabinet portraits by Boning & Small of St. Leonards-on-Sea and London

[ABOVE] A portrait of a an unknown woman wearing a fur-edged coat, photographed by Boning & Small of 22 Baker Street, Portman Square, London and 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea. The date "1884" is written in pencil on the reverse of the cabinet card.

[ABOVE] A portrait of a bearded man, photographed by Boning & Small of 22 Baker Street, Portman Square, London and 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1880). Negative No.2,150. The sitter is probably one of the notable persons photographed by Boning & Small as the image has been copyrighted.

 

Boning & Small of St. Leonards-on-Sea and London after the death of Robert Boning in 1878

[ABOVE] The trade plate of Boning & Co., Photographers to the Crown Princess of Prussia, 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1878). The Crown Princess of Prussia was Princess Victoria, Queen Victoria's eldest daughter, who had married Prince Frederick William of Prussia in 1858.

[ABOVE] Princess Victoria (1840-1901), the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria. Princess Victoria married Prince Frederick William of Prussia in 1858 and became Crown Princess of Prussia in 1861, when her husband's father was crowned King of Prussia. Princess Victoria was first  photographed by Robert Boning around 1870. After the firm of Boning & Small was formed in 1874, the photographs produced at their St Leonards studio carried the Royal Crown and the Royal Coat of Arms together with the title "Photographers to the Crown Princess of Prussia".

[ABOVE] The trade plate of Boning & Co., Photographers Royal of 22 Baker Street, London & 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1885).

[ABOVE] A portrait of  "Mr. Henry Neville", a photograph taken at the London studio of  Boning & Small using the Permanent Carbon Process, patented by the Autotype Photographic Company. "Henry Neville" was the stage name of  Thomas Henry Gartside Neville (1837-1910), an English actor and theatre manager. Godbold & Basebe employed the Autotype Company's carbon print transfer system. The Permanent Carbon Process, whereby a photographic tissue consisting of  powdered carbon in bichromated gelatin was perfected in the mid-1860s by Sir Joseph Wilson Swan (1828-1914). Swan's patent was purchased in 1868 by the Autotype Company, which went on to improve Swan's method and manufacture ready-made carbon tissues and transfer sheets.

[ABOVE] The trade plate of Boning & Small of 22 Baker Street, Portman Square, London & 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1888).

[ABOVE] A detail from a Victorian map of London showing the location of Boning & Small's studios in Baker Street, West London. ( The site of the original photographic studio at 22 Baker Street is marked with a red spot. The location of the second studio at 71 Baker Street is marked with a green spot ).

 

The firm of Boning & Small was established around 1874 when the photographer Charles James Small entered into a business partnership with Robert Boning, a photographer who had operated a studio at 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on Sea since 1863. In 1878, Boning & Small purchased from Fredrick Thomas Burrows the photographic portrait studio at 22 Baker Street, London. The studio at 22 Baker Street had previously belonged to the famous portrait photographers Southwell Brothers. A married sister of photographers Edwin and Frederick Southwell, Mrs Sophia Rogerson joined the firm of Boning & Small around the time they acquired the studio in London's Baker Street. The Southwell Brothers were excellent portrait photographers and so it is rather disturbing to learn that firm of Boning & Small had plans to get rid of all the glass negatives produced by the Southwell Brothers, the former occupants of the studio at 22 Baker Street. Paul Frecker has discovered a public notice by Boning & Small announcing their intention to destroy all the Southwell Brothers' negatives. The announcement which appeared in The Times newspaper on 28 September 1880, states that Messrs. Boning and Small, photographers of 22 Baker Street, London, were giving notice that "in consequence of numerous applications from abroad they have extended the time up to 30th November, when they propose destroying all negatives taken by their predecessors, Southwell Brothers, unless specifically instructed to the contrary".

[ABOVE] A public notice which placed in The Hastings & St Leonards Times on 10th August 1878, by Messrs. Boning & Small to reassure the inhabitants of St Leonards-on-Sea that they had no plans to dispose of the photographic studio at 10 Verulam Place, following their purchase of the portrait studio at 22 Baker Street, London.

Robert Boning, the senior partner in Boning & Small, had died during the Spring of 1878, around the time the firm had acquired the studio in London's Baker Street. After Robert Boning's death it was rumoured that Boning & Small's studio in St Leonards would be closed, but during the Summer of 1878, Charles James Small, the surviving partner in the firm of Boning & Small, placed public notices in the local press to counter the rumours that the firm was proposing to relinquish their long-established studio in Verulam Place. Charles Small made it clear that he had no plans to dispose of Boning & Small's studio at 10 Verulam Place. The rumours of the studio closure, Small declared in his public notice, were "so far from such being the case, they hope, by a largely increased Staff of Artists, to fulfil their engagements with even greater promptitude and satisfaction to their numerous and influential patrons than was possible before opening their establishment (at) 22 Baker Street, London."  

In 1880, the firm of Boning & Small placed an advertisement in W. T. Pike's Directory of Hastings & St Leonards. The advertisement publicized the range of work undertaken by Boning & Small. In addition to the standard carte-de-visite and cabinet portraits, Boning & Small would, by arrangement, take "Photographs of Mansions, Family Groups, Equipages & Equestrian Portraits". The studio at 10 Verulam Place also offered to make copies of "Works of Art, Photographs and Engravings" using the Permanent Carbon Process. The advertisement made it clear that Messrs. Boning & Small were licensees of the Permanent Carbon Process, a method of photographic printing originally invented by Sir Joseph Wilson Swan (1828-1914) and later improved and patented by the Autotype Photographic Company.

[ABOVE] The trade plate of Boning & Small of  10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (1879). Negative No. 23,798.

Charles James Small continued to operate the branch studios in London and St Leonards under the name of Boning & Small. In the late 1870s, Mrs Sophia Rogerson had acted as Housekeeper at 10 Verulam Place and had been in charge of the Reception Rooms leading to the photographic studio. After the death of Robert Boning and the acquisition of the Baker Street studio in 1878, the day-to--day management of the St Leonards studio was increasingly placed in Mrs Rogerson's hands. In 1880, Charles James Small and his family left their residence at 4 Dane Road, Hastings and set up home at the London studio of Boning & Small. When the 1881 census was taken on 3rd April 1881, Charles J. Small was residing with his wife and three daughters at 22 Baker Street, London, while Mrs Sophia Rogerson is shown occupying the studio at 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards.

[ABOVE] An advertisement for Messrs. Boning & Small, Photographers, Opposite the Pier , which appeared in The Hastings & St Leonards Observer in January 1881. By this date, Robert Boning, the founder of the St Leonards studio was dead and the Boning & Small studio at 10 Verulam Place was being managed by Mrs Sophia Rogerson. Hastings Pier was such a significant landmark in Hastings & St Leonards, it was not necessary to print the studio address in Verulam Place; the phrase "Opposite the Pier" being sufficient to establish the location of  the studio.

Boning & Small appears to have been the first studio in Hastings & St Leonards to employ electric lighting. In July 1884 the firm of Boning & Small made a public announcement that they were "now using the Electric Light in their new studio, opposite the Pier". [See the newspaper advertisement below]. Photographic studios at this time used electric lighting not so much as to dramatically improve the quality of their photographs, but to extend their business hours and to enable their customers to have their portraits taken in the evening.

[ABOVE] An advertisement published in The Hastings & St Leonards Observer on 5th July 1884 announcing that the Boning & Small studio in St Leonards-on-Sea was now using  electric light.

Mrs Sophia Rogerson (1831-1908) managed the Boning & Small studio at 10 Verulam Place St Leonards-on-Sea during the decade from Robert Boning's death in 1878. It appears that Mrs Rogerson purchased the Verulam Place studio from Mrs Eliza Ann Small, Charles Small's widow, around 1888. "S. Rogerson" is listed as a photographer at 11 Verulam Place, Hastings in W. T. Pike's 1889 Hastings & St Leonards Directory and is named as the proprietor of the photographic studio at 10 Verulam Place in Kelly's Directory of Sussex, published in 1890.

Mrs Sophia Rogerson ran the photographic studio at 10-11 Verulam Place, St Leonards on Sea until her marriage to architect and surveyor William Bailey Catherwood in 1894. The studio at 10 Verulam Place passed to a photographer named Schofield, but by 1898 the studio had closed its doors for the last time.

Mrs Sophia Rogerson (late Boning & Small)

[ABOVE] The trade plate of Mrs Sophia Rogerson (late Boning & Small),10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1889).

[ABOVE] The trade plate of Mrs Sophia Rogerson (late Boning & Small),10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (c1890).
 
[RIGHT]] The trade plate of Mrs Sophia Rogerson, Photographer Royal of 10 Verulam Place, St Leonards-on-Sea (late Boning & Small) taken from the reverse of a cabinet portrait taken around 1890.

Boning & Small's Photographic Studios in London's Baker Street

The firm of Boning & Small operated a photographic portrait studio in London at 22 Baker Street for ten years, from 1878 until 1888. When Charles James Small died in Richmond, Surrey in 1886 at the age of 49, his widow Mrs Eliza Ann Small (1836-1910) inherited her late husband's photography business. It appears that Mrs Small enlisted the help of established professional photographers to run the studio in Baker Street after the death of her husband. Between 1888 and 1889, the studio at 22 Baker Street was operated by photographer and miniature artist Alfred B. Bagnelle (1840-1897). After 1889, Boning & Small had an additional London studio at 71 Baker Street, London, but this second studio closed the following year. Mrs Eliza Ann Small, the widow of Charles James Small, petitioned for liquidation on 25th March 1892, when the Baker Street branch of Boning & Small had debts of 714. Boning & Small's original London studio at 22 Baker Street passed to a photographer named Vere Brodie in 1892.

 

Acknowledgements & Sources

Thanks to Helen Dunn (nee Ashford) of Tasmania for providing the photographic portraits of Elizabeth Bristo Ashford (1826-1914), the wife of the photographer Robert Boning (c1826-1878). Elizabeth Bristo Ashford was the sister of Helen Dunn's great grandfather, Edward Ashford. I am also grateful to Helen Dunn for providing information regarding Robert Boning's whereabouts at the time of the 1851 and 1861 census and for finding evidence relating to Henry Ashford Boning, Robert and Elizabeth Boning's only son. Thanks also to Neil Valentine (a descendant of Robert Boning senior), who provided the portraits of Robert Boning senior and his wife Mrs Dorothy Boning, the parents of photographer Robert Boning. Neil Valentine also kindly provided the extract from the National Probate Calendar for 1878 which gives details of the death of Robert Boning.

I am grateful to photoLondon for providing information on Robert Boning *, the Ashford Brothers * and Boning & Small on The Database of 19th Century Photographers and Allied Trades in London: 1841-1901 (based on the research of David Webb) which is featured on the photoLondon website. [ *  It should be noted the PhotoLondon website has made an error in confusing the photographer Robert Boning (1826-1878) with Robert Boning (1807-1877), a non-photographer from Cambridgeshire, and has wrongly identified Henry Ashford (born 1832, Bethnal Green), a Registrar of Births & Deaths, as the brother of the photographic publisher Thomas Bristo Ashford. Thomas Bristo Ashford's younger brother was Henry Ashford, a photographic dealer who was born in Sproughton, Suffolk around 1834 ].Thanks also to Paul Frecker for his research into the Southwell Brothers of 22 Baker Street, London.

PRIMARY SOURCES : Census returns : 1851, 1871, 1881, 1901 ;  Hastings and Sussex Trade Directories : Mathieson's Directory for Hastings & St Leonards (1867-1868) ; Parson's Directory of Hastings & St Leonards  (1871) ; Pike & Ivimy's  Hastings & St Leonards Directory (1876);  W. T. Pike's  Hastings & St Leonards Directory (1880-1881, 1885-1886, 1887, 1888, 1889); John Ransom's  Hastings & St Leonards Guide (1882) ; Kelly's Sussex Directory (1862, 1866, 1870, 1874, 1878, 1882, 1887, 1890). Newspapers & Journals : Hastings & St Leonards News ( 17th June, 1864, 3rd January 1865, 20th January 1865, 13th October 1865, 16th October, 1868, 6th November 1868, ) ; Hastings & St Leonards Times ( 8th December, 1877, 10th August 1878, 21st September, 1878, 8th November, 1879 ); Hastings & St Leonards Advertiser (7th July 1870); Sussex Express (8th November 1879) ; Hastings & St Leonards Observer (1st January, 1881, 5th July, 1884). Photographic Notes (15th February, 1857, 15th March, 1857.); The Photographic News (January 1859, 29th May 1863).

SOURCES : Books : A Directory of London Photographers, 1841-1908 compiled by Michael Pritchard (PhotoResearch 1986, 1994); Websites :  Records of Baptisms & Marriages ( IGI ) on Family Search website ; Registers of Births, Marriages & Deaths at the FreeBMD website ; Database of 19th Century Photographers and Allied Trades in London: 1841-1901 on the website photoLondon.

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