Friday, 1 August 2008

What happened to Patience?

This cabinet card by the Wellington (New Zealand) studio of Connolly and Herrmann shows a young woman, perhaps looking slightly unhappy, in a typical late 1880s dress with high collar, tight boddice, rounded shoulders and bustle.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne

The studio set up is fairly rudimentary, showing a two-panel backdrop crudely painted with wood panelling, ornamented column and an open window, showing some vaguely tropical plants outisde. The centrepiece is an extraordinary home-made contraption, looking like something between a tree trunk and a bird's nest, the latter acting as a receptacle for a fern of some kind. To complete the furnishings, two rectangular fur rugs - one looks like sheepskin, while the other may be possum fur - have been placed on an unpatterned floor.

James Connolly and Richard Hermann (also spelled Herrmann) both worked as photographers in Wellington in the 1880s. Connolly was in partnership with Pierce Mott Casneau on Lambton Quay from c.1882 until 1885. He then collaborated with Richard Hermann, the studio being referred to as either Connolly & Co. or Connolly & Herrmann, until that partnership was dissolved in 1889. Wise's New Zealand Directory for 1890/1891 lists the firm of Connolly, Beauchamp and Price with a studio on Lambton Quay, but this was probably also fairly short-lived, since it was reported to have been taken over by William Henry Scott Kinsey in 1892. Richard Hermann and his wife Louisa arrived in New Zealand (from Birmingham, England) in 1880. After 1889, they established their own studio in Cuba Street. Richard died in 1892; his widow Louisa M. Hermann took over and continued to run the business until at least 1902.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne

The reverse of the card mount is a fairly typical mid-1880s design, with diagonal "signature," coat of arms, the use of several fonts and ornate scrollwork. An inscription in ink pen on the reverse, apparently contemporary with the photograph itself, identifies the subject as, "Patience Amanda Pinhey" and states that the portrait was "taken in N.Z. aged 22 yrs 1889."

I eventually managed to track down Patience Amanda Pinhey through the indexed census records at Ancestry. She was born in late 1867 in the village of Loddiswell, South Hams, Devon, England, the eighth of ten children of farmer William Henry Pinhey (or Pinhay) and his wife Susan. In 1881, the census shows Patience working as a domestic servant in the household of farmer Richard Pinhey and his wife Betsey, presumably relations of some sort, in the nearby village of South Brent. Her parents had moved to Middle Bradleigh Farm, where her father was working as an agricultural labourer.

Some time between April 1881 and 1891, the family appear to have emigrated, as I can find no evidence of them on the UK Census. From information provided by Graeme Ardern, who is distantly related to the family, it appears that Patience's eldest brother Nelson Albert Pinhey (1858-1926) was married at Ippleton in Devonshire and emigrated shortly after, arriving in Wellington on board the early steamship SS Aorangi on 15 September 1884, after a journey of six and a half weeks. After a few weeks "they settled on a farm called Fernridge, at Wangaehu, Masterton."

I presume that the remainder of the family also went to New Zealand at about this time, from the existence of this portrait, taken in Wellington. It seems quite possible that Patience was married not long after the date of the portrait, and her surname would have changed, but what happened to the rest of the Pinheys? It was a big family, so there must be some sign of them somewhere.

William Henry (or John) PINHEY b. c.1825 Diptford DEV m: Susan (surname unknown) b. c.1830 Stockingham DEV
- Nelson Albert PINHEY b. 1857 Diptford DEV
- Dora Anne/Anna PINHEY b. 1859 Diptford DEV
- Alice PINHEY b. 1860 Loddisham DEV
- Valentine PINHEY b. 1862 Loddisham DEV
- John Southwood PINHEY b. 1863 Loddisham DEV
- Stanley & William Oscar PINHEY (twins) b. 1865 Loddisham DEV
- Patience Amanda PINHEY b. 1867 Loddisham DEV
- Reginald PINHEY b. 1869 Loddisham DEV
- Susan Southwood PINHEY b. 1871 Loddisham DEV
- Matilda PINHEY b. 1873 Loddisham DEV

It is possible that the parents later returned to England, as I found some potential death index entries on FreeBMD, as follows:
Deaths Dec 1900 - Pinhey William Henry, aged 74, Kingsbridge R.D., Vol 5b Fol 127
Deaths Mar 1908 - PINHEY Susan, aged 77, Totnes R.D., Vol 5b Fol 131

If any readers out there are able to find this family after 1881, I would be most grateful to hear from you (Email).


Auckland City Libraries Photographers Database
Knight, Hardwicke (1971) Photography in New Zealand, A Social and Technical History, John McIndoe, Dunedin
Knight, Hardwicke (1981) New Zealand Photographers, A Selection, Allied Press Ltd., Auckland.
Roger Vaughan's Date an old UK Photograph
Transcribed Indexes to the GRO Birth, Marriage & Death Records from FreeBMD
Indexed 1841-1901 Census Records & Images from Ancestry


  1. Hi Brett, I am a very keen lurker on your site, and this one has finally prompted me to comment. As soon as I read the place name Loddiswell I knew I knew it, and it pretty quickly came to me. I bought a small album of pictures on eBay that dated from the very late 1800s and included some pictures of a railway under construction. Through a process of elimination using clues from other photographs I narrowed it down to the construction of the branch line down to Kingsbridge, which passes through Loddiswell. See I have had some correspondence with the chap who now lives in the station building and runs the above website. I wonder if his local connections could help you?

    What a small world!

  2. Thanks for your response - nice to know that there are people out there reading these articles. It sounds like you too are keen on sleuthing old photos. I'd be happy to feature one or two of your little "projects" on Photo-Sleuth some time. Thanks for the tip aboit Loddiswell - funnily enough, I too had come across the web site you mention, and had seen the interesting photos. I have found a Pinhey family member in New Zealand and am hoping to track down more in due course. However, I'll bear the Loddiswell connection in mind for future reference. Cheers, Brett


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