Sunday, 23 November 2008

Elizabeth Potter (1903-1993) of Wirksworth

I previously posted an advert by Wirksworth photographer James Watterson (1878-1953).

Image © & courtesy of Graham Robinson

This carte de visite from Graham Robinson is the only example that I have seen of Watterson's work, although he and his father George were in business as photographers from the early 1890s until at least the early 1920s. Stuart Flint claims (Source: Hackett the author 1843-1900 on John Palmer's Wirksworth web site) a much earlier start to the photographic business of the 1870s at Baileycroft Pingle, but I haven't yet seen any evidence for this. James Watterson emigrated to Canada and died in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1953.

The portrait is of Elizabeth Potter (1903-1993), probably taken around 1906, when she was three years old. She was a daughter of Edward Robinson Potter and Annie Maria Street, and married Ernest Butlin in 1925.

The photograph and card mount are typical of the early 1900s. While the use of larger cabinet cards tended to dominate medium price range of the market, and postcards and larger format mounted prints were becoming more popular for the lower and higher priced ends of the market, respectively, cartes de visite were still commonly used until c.1908-1910. The CDV mounts generally had square corners and were blank on the reverse, but the borders of the mount were often embossed with varying patterns and designs, and were regularly made with coloured card (although not in this particular case).

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