Unidentified young woman, c.1899-1900
Cabinet card by Leonard Norman, 36 Victoria Street, Derby
In late 1898 or early 1899 Leonard Norman took over the studio
and was in business there for the compilation of the 1899 edition of Kelly's trade directory. He was born in Litchurch, Derby in 1864, one of seven children of engine smith William Gilford Norman. Adamson (1997) shows Norman operating in Victoria Street as a photographer in 1900, but by April 1901 he had moved on. The census found him boarding in Ipswich, Suffolk, employed as a photographer. Details of his movements after this date are unclear, although there is a listing of a Leonard Norman, photographer at 63 Abbey Street, Nuneaton, Warwickshire in 1912.
With such a brief period of operation in Derby his output there must have been very limited, perhaps a few thousand at most. I am fortunate, therefore, to have been sent this image of a fine cabinet portrait of an unidentified young woman from Norman's studio by Robert Silverwood.
The reverse of the card mount has only the words Norman and Derby printed across the diagonal in a "signature style." This simplified type of design became increasingly popular towards the end of the 1890s, perhaps a reaction to the classical excesses of the 1880s and early 1890s, with their fluted columns, Grecian vases, toga clad maidens, naked cherubs and other "artistic" motifs (see Roger Vaughan's 1890s CDV backs).
Norman's card design is very similar to that used in the mid-1890s by former 36 Victoria Street occupant Harry J. Watson, shown above. It is so similar, in fact, that I wonder whether Leonard Norman was previously an assistant of Watson's prior to opening his own studio, either in Victoria Street in the late 1880s/early 1890s or in Burton Road in the mid-1890s.
Presumably Leonard Norman settled in Ipswich, because he died at Henham, Crofton Road in that town on 13 April 1937. His son John White Norman was also described as a photographer at the time.
Many thanks to Robert Silverwood for the use of these images.