Marsh Gallery

Click here to return to home page

The Photographic Work of William Pankhurst Marsh (1850-1918)

Click here to view a detailed account of the life and career of William Pankhurst Marsh

 

Carte-de-visite Portraits W. P. Marsh of Bognor

[ABOVE] A carte-de-visite portrait of  "Mr. Gardener, the Evangelist"  by W. P. Marsh of  4 Somerset Terrace, Bognor (c1875). This was one of a set of celebrity portraits of evangelists produced by W. P. Marsh in the 1870s ( See the cdv of "Mr.Rodway, the Evangelist", below).

[ABOVE] The back of the previous carte-de-visite  portrait which gives details of W. P. Marsh's first Bognor studio at 4 Somerset Terrace, Bognor, "Near the Railway Station" (c1875).

[ABOVE] A carte-de-visite portrait of  a young man in uniform by W. P. Marsh of  Waterloo Square, Bognor (c1888). Negative No.3246..The design on the reverse of the above carte-de-visite is illustrated below [BOTTOM LEFT ]

[ABOVE] A carte-de-visite portrait of  a young boy in a sailor's outfit by W. P. Marsh of  Waterloo Square, Bognor (c1888).  Negative No.3478.

     

[ABOVE] A carte-de-visite portrait of "Mr.Rodway, the Evangelist", by W. P. Marsh of  4 Somerset Terrace, Bognor (c1875). This was one of a set of celebrity portraits of evangelists produced by W. P. Marsh in the 1870s ( See the cdv of "Mr. Gardener, the Evangelist", above).

[ABOVE] The design on the back of a carte-de-visite by William Pankhurst Marsh of Waterloo Square, Bognor, which advises the public that the photographer had been given an "Honourable Mention for Excellence in Photography". [ABOVE] The design on the back of a carte-de-visite by William Pankhurst Marsh of the Royal Marina Studio, Waterloo Square, Bognor, which features the many medals he was awarded for "Excellence in Photography" (c1895)
[ABOVE] A carte-de-visite portrait of  a young child perched on a table by W. P. Marsh of  Waterloo Square, Bognor (c1890). Negative No.4679 [ABOVE] A carte-de-visite portrait of  a young boy with a bucket and spade by W. P. Marsh of  Waterloo Square, Bognor (c1889).  Negative No.3360. [ABOVE] A carte-de-visite portrait of  a young woman by W. P. Marsh of the Royal Marina Studio, Waterloo Square, Bognor (c1892). Negative No.10,336. The design on the reverse of the above carte-de-visite  features the many medals Marsh was awarded for "Excellence in Photography". [ABOVE] A carte-de-visite portrait of  a young woman by W. P. Marsh of the  Royal Marina Studio, Waterloo Square, Bognor (c1895). Negative No.12,300. The design on the reverse of the above carte-de-visite  features the many medals Marsh was awarded for "Excellence in Photography".[ SEE ABOVE RIGHT]
In 1892, W. P. Marsh charged 2 shillings and sixpence for a single carte-de-visite portrait, but if additional copies were ordered, a customer would only have to pay 5 shillings for six copies and 8 shillings for a dozen cartes-de-visite.

Midget Portraits by W. P. Marsh of Bognor

Midget Carte Photographs

The "Midget Carte" was the smallest format available for commercial portrait photography. The "Midget Carte" format was introduced in the early 1880s, but these tiny photographs did not become widely popular until the 1890s. Measuring 3 1/4 inches by 1 5/8 inches, the "midget" portrait was much smaller than the carte-de-visite and was significantly cheaper than the other popular portrait formats.

John H. Blomfield of Hastings was probably the first studio photographer in Sussex to advertise midget cartes. In 1883, Blomfield was offering "the new size, Midget Cartes" at 4s 6d a dozen. This was at a time when cartes-de-visite were sold for anything up to 10s 6d a dozen. In the early 1880s, twelve copies of a cabinet portrait would cost around 20 shillings. By the mid 1890s, the cost of portrait photographs had fallen. In 1894, a typical mid-range Sussex studio charged 10 shillings for a dozen cabinets and 5 shillings for a set of twelve carte-de-visite portraits. The same studio priced the Midget portrait at 3s 6d per dozen.

 

 
[ABOVE] A midget portrait of  a young man wearing a bow-tie by W. P. Marsh of  the Royal Marine Studio, Waterloo Square, Bognor (c1892). Negative No.11,213 [ABOVE] A midget portrait of  a young man wearing a white tie by W. P. Marsh of  the Royal Marine Studio, Waterloo Square, Bognor (c1892). Negative No.11,422 [ABOVE] A midget portrait of  a bearded man by W. P. Marsh of  he Royal Marina Studio, Waterloo Square, Bognor (c1895). Negative No.12,318  
Eleanor Osborn Powell, daughter of Edward James Powell, Chief Cartographer for the Admiralty
Eleanor Osborn Powell was born in Clapham, Surrey in 1877, the daughter of Clara Osborn and Edward James Powell, Chief  Draughtsman to the British Admiralty. Edward James Powell (born c1827, London, Middlesex) joined the Admiralty's Hydrographic Office as a draughtsman in 1852 and by 1865 he had succeeded Captain Richard Hoskyn as Chief Draughtsman at the Admiralty's Hydrographic Office . Edward J. Powell was the Chief Draughtsman at the Hydrographic Office in Whitehall until 1892, drawing many of the important maps and charts from surveys carried out by the Royal Navy. Hundreds of maps and charts covering the Pacific Ocean and the seas around North America, Australia and New Zealand carry the credit "Drawn by Edward J. Powell of the Hydrographic Office."

In 1876, Edward James Powell married Clara Osborn (born 1848, Bognor, Sussex), the daughter of Eliza and William Arthur Osborn of South Bersted. Eleanor Osborn Powell, the couple's first child, was born in Clapham, Surrey, during the 4th Quarter of 1877. A second daughter, Alice Blanche Powell, was born in Clapham in 1880, but she died before she reached her first birthday. Eleanor's family were reasonably affluent ( In 1891, Edward J. Powell was receiving 500 per annum as Chief Draughtsman to the Admiralty). In 1881, Eleanor's father was employing two domestic servants, a cook and a nursemaid, at their house in Clapham. Mary Irish Daniels, Eleanor's great grand-daughter, reports that Eleanor never dressed herself until she was fourteen years of age. Eleanor Osborn Powell married Albert George Wadham (born 1878, Newport, Isle of Wight) at South Stoneham, near Southampton, in 1903.

[ABOVE] Eleanor Osborn Powell (born 1877, Clapham, Surrey) photographed  by William Pankhurst Marsh of the Royal Marine Studio, Waterloo Square, Bognor. Eleanor Osborn Powell was the daughter of Clara Osborn and Edward James Powell, Chief  Draughtsman to the British Admiralty. Eleanor's mother, Mrs Clara Powell, originated from Bognor, and Eleanor was probably in Bognor visiting relatives when this portrait was taken by W.  P. Marsh.

PHOTO: Courtesy of Mary Irish Daniels

[ABOVE] A midget portrait of Eleanor Osborn Powell (born 1877), photographed by W. P. Marsh at the Royal Marine Studio, Waterloo Square, Bognor (c1890).

PHOTO: Courtesy of Mary Irish Daniels

 
Cabinet Portraits by W. P. Marsh of Bognor
The Cabinet Format for portrait photography was introduced in 1866 by the London photographer Frederick Richard Window (1824-1875). The proposed format was a photographic print mounted on a sturdy card measuring 41/4 inches by 61/2 inches. (roughly 11cm x 17cm). The new format was called the Cabinet Portrait, presumably because a large photograph on a stout card could be displayed on a wooden cabinet or similar piece of furniture. The Scottish photographer George Washington Wilson (1823-1893) had produced 'cabinet' sized landscape views as early as 1862, but F. R. Window had adopted the large format specifically for portraiture.

Frederick R. Window believed the larger dimensions of the 'cabinet print' (4 inches by 5
1/2 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 smaller carte-de-visite would allow.
Much larger than the carte-de-visite, the size of the cabinet format made it possible to show more than one or two people in a portrait without losing detail.

Although introduced in 1866, the cabinet portrait did not really establish itself until after the invention of dry plate photography and the reduction in plate exposure times to a fraction of a second. The arrival of "instantaneous photography" around 1880 allowed the cabinet format to be used to its full potential. The cabinet photograph increased in popularity in the late 1880s and 1890s, as the demand for carte-de-visite portraits declined. The larger cabinet format was particularly suitable for groups and family portraits. The introduction of "instantaneous photography" ensured that even restless and fidgety children in family groups could be captured sharply by the camera.

In September 1892, William Pankhurst Marsh, Art Photographer of the Royal Marine Studio, Waterloo Square, Bognor, placed an advertisement in the Bognor Observer which detailed his prices for Cabinet Portraits. W. P. Marsh charged 4 shillings for a single cabinet portrait, but if additional copies were ordered, a customer would only have to pay 10 shillings for six copies and 18 shillings for a dozen.

[LEFT & ABOVE] An advertisement for William Pankhurst Marsh, Art Photographer of the Royal Marine Studio, Waterloo Square, Bognor, detailing his prices for carte-de-visite and cabinet portraits. (Bognor Observer, 7th September 1892). A single cabinet portrait cost 4 shillings, six copies cost 10 shillings and twelve copies could be had for 18 shillings.

[ABOVE] An "Instantaneous Cabinet Photograph" of a young child holding a woollen ball by W. P. Marsh of Waterloo Square, Bognor (c1886). The development of "instantaneous photography" in the 1880s meant that the speedy exposure times could capture good images of fidgety children. [ABOVE] A cabinet portrait of a family group by W. P. Marsh of the Royal Marine Studio, Waterloo Square, Bognor (c1891). Negative No.2,277. From around 1890, W. P. Marsh's studio went under the name of the Royal Marine Studio, but by the end of 1892 the "e" had been replaced by an "a" and the studio became the Royal Marina Studio.

[ABOVE] A cabinet portrait of a baby on a fur rug by W. P. Marsh of the Royal Marina Studio, Waterloo Square, Bognor (c1894). Negative No.3,787. Before 1892, W. P. Marsh's studio went under the name of the "Royal Marine Studio", but by 1893 the "e" had been replaced by an "a" and the studio became the Royal Marina Studio. [ABOVE] A cabinet portrait of  an elderly couple with a pet dog by W. P. Marsh of the Royal Marina Studio, Waterloo Square, Bognor (c1893). Negative No.3,303. Before 1892, W. P. Marsh's studio went under the name of the "Royal Marine Studio", but by 1892 the "e" had been replaced by an "a" and the studio became the Royal Marina Studio.
   

The Wedding Group Portrait of James Oliver Long and Annie Gatrell by W. P. Marsh of Bognor

Charlotte Crowter was born in the West Sussex parish of Donnington (near Chichester) around 1822, the daughter of James and Phoebe Crowter. (Charlotte was baptised in Donnington on 16th February 1823). On 29th May 1844, at West Dean, near Chichester, Charlotte Crowter married labourer Michael Gatrell (also spelt Gattrell /Gaterell ). Michael Gatrell had been born in Binderton, West Sussex in 1816  (Michael was baptised in West Dean on 29th December 1816). Charlotte gave birth to at least 9 children - Harriet (1844), Henry (1847), Phoebe (1849), Charles (1851), Mary (1853), Louisa (1855), Alice (1859), Ada Ellen (1864) and Annie Gatrell (1868) [see below]. Mrs Charlotte Gatrell died in Chertsey, Surrey, not far short of her 90th birthday.

Mrs Charlotte Gatrell (formerly Crowter) c1822-1901

Annie Gatrell was born in Walberton, West Sussex early in 1868 and baptised in Walberton's parish church on 15th March 1868. Annie was the youngest daughter of Charlotte Crowter (see above) and Michael Gatrell (c1817-1889), a labourer who originated from the West Sussex village of Binderton. In 1889, twenty-one year old Annie Gatrell married James Oliver Long, a twenty-nine year old gardener from Downton, Wiltshire. (see below). Within the first year of her marriage, Annie gave birth to a son, James Oliver Long, but sadly he died in 1891 before reaching his 2nd birthday. Annie went on to become the mother of at least eight children - Ann (1891), George Leonard (1892), Albert Henry (1894), Walter Harold (1896), Gertrude Katherine (1897), Elsie Kathleen (1901), Louis Frank (1902) and Alfred Edward Long (1904).

Mrs Annie Long (formerly Gatrell) (1868-1937)

James Oliver Long was born early in 1859 in Downton, Wiltshire, and baptised in nearby Landford on 24th April 1859. James was the second child and only son of George Oliver Long (born c1831, Whiteparish, Wilts.), a general labourer, and his first wife Ann King. James Long's mother died in 1865 and 3 years later his father took a much younger second wife, Sarah Crook. James Oliver Long had at least 2 half-sisters and 5 half-brothers through his father's second marriage. (Emma, Harry, Oliver, John, William, Ellen, Samuel). James Oliver Long found work in West Sussex as a domestic gardener. In 1889, James Long married Annie Gatrell, the youngest daughter of Michael and Charlotte Gatrell of Barnham, West Sussex.

James Oliver Long (1859-1940)

[ABOVE] A cabinet portrait of  James Oliver Long, his wife Annie and his mother-in-law, Mrs Charlotte Gatrell, photographed by W. P. Marsh of the Royal Marine Studio, Waterloo Square, Bognor (c1889). Before 1892, W. P. Marsh's studio went under the name of the "Royal Marine Studio", but by 1892 the "e" had been replaced by an "a" and the studio became the Royal Marina Studio. This group photograph was probably taken to mark the marriage of  James Oliver Long and Annie Gatrell, which took place in Barnham, West Sussex during the First Quarter of 1889. Annie's father, Michael Gatrell is absent from the picture, having died early in 1889, aged 71.

[Photo: Courtesy of Jacqui May of Australia]

 

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Jacqui May of Australia for providing the cabinet portrait of James Oliver Long and his wife Annie Gatrell. Thanks also to Steve Long, the great grandson of James Oliver Long, for supplying additional information about the Long family. Steve Long's grandfather Alfred Edward Cecil Long (born 1904) was the youngest child of James and Annie Long.
 

W. P. Marsh's Portraits of Mary Wheatland - Bognor's Celebrated Bathing Woman

William Pankhurst Marsh became well-known for his portraits of Mary Wheatland (1835-1924), the celebrated "Bathing Woman of Bognor." From around 1875, W. P. Marsh produced portraits of Mary Wheatland in both the carte-de-visite and cabinet formats. With the introduction of the picture postcard in the early 1900s, W. P. Marsh began to issue holiday souvenir postcards featuring Mary Wheatland, Bognor's most well-known "bathing woman".
 

[ABOVE] A portrait of Mary Wheatland (1835-1924), the famous "bathing woman of  Bognor", taken by W. P. Marsh around 1875. The rope held by Mary Wheatland was the safety-line she used when teaching novice swimmers and worn when she had to swim out to sea to rescue holiday-makers from drowning. It is reported that during her service as a "Bathing Woman", Mary Wheatland saved the lives over thirty men, women and children who got into trouble in the seas off Bognor.

[ABOVE] "Mary Wheatland - Bognor's Celebrated Bathing Woman" featured on a postcard which has been embossed or blind-stamped "W. P. MARSH - BOGNOR". The original photograph was taken by William Pankhurst Marsh around 1905 and issued as a picture postcard the following year. On the front of her blue serge outfit, Mary wears two of the medals awarded to her for saving holidaymakers from drowning.
 
Mary Wheatland (1835-1924)

Mary Wheatland was born Mary Norris around 1835 in the West Sussex village of Aldingbourne, situated about six miles east of Chichester. Mary Norris came from a poor family and around 1848 she was obliged to find work in the seaside resort of Bognor, which was about five miles south of her home village of Aldingbourne. Aged 14, Mary Wheatland went to work for Mrs Martha Mills of Cullver Street, who was the proprietor of bathing machines on Bognor's seafront. Mary was employed to assist bathers who were taken out to sea in the horse-drawn bathing vehicles. A strong and enthusiastic swimmer, Mary reportedly saved a man from drowning in her first season as a bathing assistant.

Towards the end of 1857, Mary Norris married George Wheatland, a young agricultural labourer from Lidsey, a village north of Bognor. Over the next ten years, Mary gave birth to at least six children - George (born 1859, South Bersted), William (born 1860, South Bersted), Mary (born 1862, South Bersted), Sarah Jane (born 1864, South Bersted), Emily (born 1866, South Bersted) and Ellen (born 1868, South Bersted).

Mrs Mary Wheatland worked as a "bathing woman" at Bognor from the age of fourteen until well into her sixties. (The 1901 census records Mary Wheatland as a sixty-five year old "Bathing Woman").

In a local newspaper article published in 1864, Mary Wheatland announced that she wanted "to inform the Ladies and Public generally visiting this town that she is now engaged by Joseph Ragless, whose machines are situated near the Beach Inn where she will pay every attention to those who may favour her with their support". Joseph Ragless senior (1813-1876) parked his bathing machines on the beach opposite Waterloo Square, Bognor, where local photographer William Pankhurst Marsh was to operate a photographic portrait studio from 1876 until about 1905. Around 1875, Marsh made the acquaintance of Mrs Mary Wheatland and persuaded her to pose for a photographic portrait in his Bognor studio. Some 30 years later, W. P. Marsh published a series of picture postcards featuring Mary Wheatland, who had become a local celebrity because of her long service as a "bathing woman", her reputation as an excellent swimmer and her acts of bravery (Mary had saved over thirty people from drowning).

[ABOVE] A photograph showing wheeled bathing machines on the beach at Bognor in West Sussex (c1905)

A picture postcard of Mary Wheatland, published by W. P. Marsh around 1907, when the veteran bathing woman was 72 years of age, attached the text of an article about 'Bognor's Mermaid' : "A little old woman stands on the parade of Bognor looking out to sea. She is clad in a rough blue serge costume on the bodice of which two lifesaving medals are pinned. A battered sailor hat, bearing her name in gold letters, is tied under her chin with black ribbons. The weather beaten face is crumpled up into a network of smiles."

The "two lifesaving medals" which Mary Wheatland proudly wore on her chest had been presented to the bathing woman for her acts of bravery and courage in rescuing holidaymakers who were in danger of drowning. Two medals and accompanying certificates had been presented to Mary Wheatland by the Royal Humane Society. Another medal had been awarded to Mary for saving the lives of six girls who had got into difficulty while swimming out to sea. It is recorded that in total Mary Wheatland saved over 30 people from drowning. Mary once remarked that "the saving of life was as much the work of a bathing woman as the rinsing of a bathing dress."

Mary Wheatland was a strong swimmer and a keen diver. She is believed to have been the first woman to provide swimming lessons in Bognor. It is reported that she enjoyed diving off Bognor Pier and swimming in the sea for periods of up to 90 minutes. It is said that even at the age of seventy, Mary would entertain the assembled holiday makers by doing hand-stands in the sea so that her boot-clad feet would protrude from the surface of the water.

Mary Wheatland died at her home in Ivy Lane, South Bersted on 1st April 1924, at the age of 89. A procession of Bognor fishermen escorted her body to the Church of St Mary Magdalene, where she was laid to rest in the church's graveyard.

[ABOVE] A photograph showing wheeled bathing machines being hauled back to the shore by horses at the seaside resort of Bognor in West Sussex. This illustration is from a picture postcard, entitled "Pier Hotel and Parade, Bognor" which was sent in November 1906. Mary Wheatland first worked with these bathing machines in 1849 and was employed as a bathing woman by several bathing machine proprietors, including Mrs Martha Mills, Mrs Pipson and Joseph Ragless senior.

[ABOVE] A cartoon by from 1870 showing women swimming from their bathing machine. Ropes from the bathing machine were attached to learner-swimmers. Mary Wheatland, nicknamed the "Bognor Mermaid", was a keen swimmer and diver and was probably the first woman to provide swimming lessons in Bognor.

[ABOVE] Mary Wheatland, Bognor's celebrated bathing woman pictured with one of her daughters in a postcard produced around 1906 by William Pankhurst Marsh. An elderly Mary Wheatland wears a bronze medal and a silver medal awarded by the Royal Humane Society for saving the lives of people who faced death by drowning.
 

[ABOVE] "Mary Wheatland - Bognor's Celebrated Bathing Woman" photographed by William Pankhurst Marsh and featured on a picture postcard published around 1906. This picture postcard of Mary Wheatland has been blind-stamped in the lower right-hand corner "W. P. Marsh & Son, Chichester".

PHOTO: Courtesy of Rendell Williams of Sussex Postcards Info

Picture Postcards by W. P. Marsh of Bognor and Chichester

William Pankhurst Marsh began producing picture postcards around 1905, shortly before he re-located from Bognor to Chichester. A picture postcard of Mary Wheatland, the celebrated "Bathing Woman of Bognor" was first produced by W. P. Marsh around 1905. As Rendel Williams has pointed out in his article on William Pankhurst Marsh and his picture postcards, the firm of W. P. Marsh & Son continued to publish cards featuring "Mary Wheatland - Bognor's Celebrated Bathing Woman" after William P. Marsh and his son William Lindsley Marsh, transferred their photography business to 39 Southgate, Chichester.

Rendel Williams' Sussex Postcards Info website contains a gallery of picture postcards by W. P. Marsh of Bognor and W. P. Marsh & Son of Chichester. W. P. Marsh produced picture postcards of Bognor's seafront, public events and a series of cards featuring his famous photographs of "breaking waves" and "high seas" at Bognor.

Rendel Williams' Sussex Postcards Info website is an excellent resource for those interested in picture postcards published in Sussex between 1900 and 1980. Rendel Williams' website features several picture postcards produced by W. P. Marsh from his Bognor and Chichester studios between 1905 and 1918. Rendel Williams has also authored an article about William Pankhurst Marsh's career as a picture postcard publisher which is also available on the Sussex Postcards Info website.

To view more picture postcards by William Pankhurst Marsh of Bognor and Chichester, click on the link below:

SUSSEXPOSTCARDS.INFO

 

Click here to view a detailed account of the life and career of William Pankhurst Marsh

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I am indebted to the research of Ron Iden of the West Sussex Record Office and in particular Mr. Iden's  article "W. P. Marsh - Artist with a Camera", which first appeared in the Bognor Regis Local History Society's Newsletter No.11 in July 1984. I am grateful to Rendell Williams for providing information and illustrations relating to William Pankhurst Marsh and his picture postcards on the website Sussex Postcards Info. Thanks to Mary Irish Daniels for supplying W. P. Marsh's midget portrait of Eleanor Osborn Powell. Thanks to Jacqui May of Australia for providing the copy of the wedding group photograph by W. P. Marsh of Bognor.

Click here to return to home page