I received this portrait from Norway, of all places. The sender Bjornar Saternes writes:
Some years ago I scanned some old photographs in an old album owned by my uncle. The pictures comes from my granddad family photo album. One photo is of a woman. In the footer it says "By Special Royal Warrant" and "A. & G. Taylor - Stockton on Tees & West Hartlepool". We have no clue whatsoever on who this woman is. An other major problem is that we do not have any names for any picture in the entire album. And most Norwegian photographers for our area were bombed during the Second World War. Other pictures in the album seems to be from around 1910, though we can't be quite sure. Do you think it is possible to find some more information regarding this photo? Does the archives of A. & G. Taylor still exist?I don't have details of when the branch studios of A & G Taylor operated in Stockton-on-Tees and West Hartlepool, both located in the county of Durham, and the only information provided by Roger Vaughan on his list is, "c1896, 106 High Street, Stockton." However, I can answer the question about the possible existence of archives of the studio, recording the names of subjects of portraits, with a fair degree of certainty. The chances of them surviving are almost nil. There are a few negative books from Victorian studios which do exist - Roger Vaughan presents one for the Harrow Branch of Hills & Saunders Photographers on his site - but I'm sorry to report that most have vanished.
I estimate, from the style of the cabinet card, including its square corners and embossed frame, as well as the woman's clothing and hair style, that the photo was taken around the turn of the century, perhaps between 1898 and 1902. She looks to be in her early 20s, and was therefore perhaps born in the late 1870s. Without further information, it would be very difficult to deduce anything further about the subject.