Monday, 8 December 2008

Stereoview by John Alfred Warwick (1821-1896) of Derby

One of the best known Derby photographers was Richard Keene (1825-1894), about whom I have previously written the following:

"Although primarily a printer, bookseller, stationer and, by 1855, publisher of the Derbyshire Telegraph, he developed an interest in photography, and travelled throughout Derbyshire with friends, taking pictures of architecture, topography and landscapes. He started by selling prints of the high quality photos for which he became reknowned, but also set up and operated a successful portrait studio from at least 1859, produced private commissions for firms, estates and families, and took photos in many other counties. He was an associate of Fox Talbot, and his work reportedly included commissions by the Royal Family. In 1884 he was a founder member of the Derby Photographic Society, he was the recipient of 34 major awards, and he also became President Elect of the Photographic Convention of the United Kingdom."

Image © and courtesy of Maxwell Craven
John Alfred Warwick (1821-1896) & Elizabeth Hole Warwick (1832-1904)
taken c.1860 by his close friend Richard Keene at Derby
from Keene's Derby by Maxwell Craven, publ. 1993, Breedon Books

One of those close friends, who accompanied Keene on a number of photographic "rambles" around Derbyshire and other places further afield, was J.A. Warwick (1821-1896). John Alfred Warwick was born in Manchester, son of a Unitarian minister and scientist Thomas Oliver Warwick (1771-1852) and Mary Aldred. After his marriage to Elizabeth Hole Hudson (1832-1904) at Ilkeston in 1854, they settled in Derby, where they had seven daughters and a son over the next two decades. Warwick was soon after appointed telegraph superintendent for the Midland Railway Company, a position he held until his retirement in the 1880s. In the 1891 Census, when he was living at Brook Cottage, Ockbrook, he is described as a pyrotechnist, i.e. he was a producer of fireworks, and his Guy Fawkes displays were reportedly very popular.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne

Amongst many other interests he was also a keen amateur photographer from as early as 1852, and appears to have taken quite a few of the landscapes later published as stereoviews by Keene. The image shown above is one such stereoview, although this particular example is attributed to Warwick on the reverse (see below), with Keene noted as the publisher. John Bradley, who has several views by Keene and Warwick in his collection, informs me that it was from an earlier series probably taken in the late 1850s.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne

The number 42 in the top left hand corner of the box presumably identifies the stereograph as number 42 in a series of views published by Keene. The title and description are as follows:

Ruins of Ashby-de-la-Zouche Castle, from the Manor-House garden. This is one of the many fine views obtained from the north or garden side of the Castle. On the left is the fine gable and window of Mary Queen of Scots' Room; and in the centre are the windows of the Great Hall, behind which rises the majestic Ivanhoe Tower. Scott has made these ruins doubly interesting, and has given them a fame that will survive when their massive relics shall have crumbled into the dust.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne

As with other photographs published by Keene but actually taken by Warwick, what appears to be the familiar figure of Richard Keene is evident. He is lying prostrate on the grass, apparently writing in a notebook.

Image © Derby Museum and courtesy of Maxwell Craven
Richard Keene & the Eyam Cross, 27 July 1858, by J.A. Warwick
Image © Derby Museum Ref. DBYMU.A41 & courtesy of Maxwell Craven in Keene's Derby

Maxwell Craven, in his absorbing book Keene's Derby (published in 1993 by Breedon Books, ISBN 1 873626 60 6), describes in some detail the earliest of Keene and Warwick's rambles, through the Peak District in July 1858, and includes a photograph showing Keene with a leather shoulder bag and his notebook seated on the base of the Eyam Cross, taken by Warwick on 27 July 1858 in Eyam churchyard.

Image © and courtesy of Picture the Past
Richard Keene & the Wheston Cross, c.1858-1859, by J.A. Warwick
Image © and courtesy of Picture the Past Ref. DCCC001840

Picture the Past has another image, possibly from the same ramble. Although attributed to Keene, it was clearly taken by Warwick as Keene is seated in a very similar pose to the earlier photo, on the plinth of the cross at Wheston, near Tideswell.

If any other readers have prints of photographs or stereoviews by Warwick or Keene, please get in touch by email. I'd be very keen to see further images, and even feature them here if possible.

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