Monday, 11 May 2009

Smile for the Camera (13th Edition) - All Creatures Great and Small

Smile for the Camera (13th Edition) - All Creatures Great and Small

The title of this edition of the Smile for the Camera Carnival, hosted as usual by footnoteMaven at Shades of the Departed, presented something of a dilemma for me as I'm not much of a family pet kind of person. However, the other day I came across this carte de visite portrait in my collection which fits the bill perfectly.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne
"All Creatures Great and Small"

I think I'll leave the portrait to speak for itself. Neither of the subjects are identified, so perhaps readers could suggest appropriate names for both of them. The studio furniture and background is not at all elaborate, and does not appear to have been very expertly arranged. Indeed the plinth on which the dog is perched could have been a relict of the 1860s!

Image © and collection of Brett Payne

To give this article at least some semblance of respectability, I'd better discuss the photographer. Frederick Hughes operated a studio in the town of Leicester from the late 1880s until at least 1906. He moved to Leicester from Stonehouse in Gloucestershire around 1888. The design on the reverse of the card mount is printed in gold ink on a glossy bright red surface, and is of a style which started to become popular during the late 1880s. The address shown is Campbell Buildings, 10 Belgrave Road. Heathcote & Heathcote (1982) list the following addresses of studio premises operated by Hughes:

1888-1898: Campbell Buildings, 12½ London Rd, Leicester
1900: 1 Argyle Terrace, Belgrave Rd, Leicester
1902: 29 Belgrave Rd, Leicester
1902-1906: 109 (or 107) Belgrave Gate, Leicester

He was followed in 1909 at this last address by Alex McInnes. I estimate that the portrait was taken between 1889 and 1894.


Heathcote, Bernard V. & Heathcote, Pauline F. (1982) Leicester Photographic Studios in Victorian & Edwardian Times, published by the Historical Group of the Royal Photographic Society.


  1. I should like to propose the dog's name as Gelert.

  2. An excellent start, thank you Nigel. I will admit to not having heard of Gelert, but I'm now much the wiser, thanks to Wikipedia, as usual.

  3. I would say Beauty and the Beast - but the "Beast" is so beautiful!


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