Victorian Photographers | Nottinghamshire

There were two different photographers amongst the Lee sisters Cartes de Vista taken in Nottinghamshire. Can you help identify anyone?

Click on a name to shoot downwards and find out more about the photographer, see the portraits they took and read my thoughts on dates and who they may be.


A W Cox & Son
Portrait & Landscape Photographers
St James Street, Nottingham
Honourable Mention – International Exhibition 1862
1st Prize – Victorian Exhibition

Alfred Wilson COX was born 1831 in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire and was one of at least three children born to Alfred COX, manufacturer of hosiery, and Hannah WILSON. His other two siblings were born in Radford, Northamptonshire where the family was still living in 1851 where Alfred was working as an artist. Alfred married Ellen Elizabeth PRATT in 1853 in Nottingham and they had four children between 1854-1872. In 1861 he was working as an artist with oils, but was also a photographer by at least 1858. In 1871 the family were living at 11 St James Street, Nottingham where the following two photographs were taken. His wife and children were living at 11 St James Street in 1881, with Ellen running the business. Their elder daughter Ellen was an artist painter, so probably also worked for the family business for a time. Alfred, it would seem, absconded up to Harborne, Staffordshire at some point before 1881 and was living there as married with a lady called Rose, who was half his age!

Alfred died 5th Nov 1888 at 2 Great George Street, Liverpool, Lancashire and his probate record shows he was previously living at 21 Farclife Place, Manningham, Yorkshire and was a “Landscape and Portrait Painter and Cycle Agent”. Administration of his will was left to his brother Henry, who was a portrait painter living in Leicester at the time.

The back seems early 1870’s whilst the pose and fashion could be mid 1860’s to early 1870’s. Both sons worked as photographers and one, most likely both, worked with him at some point. I’d date this between 1872-1875 when his oldest son would have been 18-21.


A W Cox & Son
Photographers, Miniature Portraits, Painters
11 St James Street, Nottingham

The card back design is typical early to mid 1880’s, whilst the pose and fashion is more 1870’s (possibly in keeping with being an older gentleman). As Alfred had moved up to Staffordshire by 1881, this photo would have been taken by one of his sons or even his wife Ellen.



Samuel Kirk
Portrait & Landscape Photographer
Albert Street, Nottingham

Samuel KIRK was born 1847 in Snenton, Nottinghamshire, and was the third of five children born to Samuel KIRK, a professor of music, and Sarah BROWN, an embroiderer. His eldest sister Sarah married William SEWARD, also a renowned Nottingham photographer. Samuel married Agnes BRIGGS in 1868 when he was age 21 and they had two children by the time of the 1871 census, and working as a photographer.

Nottingham directories list his address as a photographer as 5 Albert Street in 1876, 7 Albert Street in 1877, 5 Albert Street between 1881-1885, another 1885 directory lists 64 Union Road then directly under it another entry with 5-7 Albert Street; h 5 Milk St, Glasshouse St, and back to just 5 Albert Street between 1891-1894. In 1871 the family were living at Union Road Loverseed Terrace. In 1881 they were living with Agnes’s mother at 5 Milk Street (as listed in 1885).

Agnes died in 1889 and Samuel was living at 64 Union Road in 1891 (as listed in 1885, along with other addresses). He remarried in 1894 to Ada Elizabeth BROOKS (20 years his junior) and they had one child together who died aged 3. Samuel and Ada were still living at 64 Union Road in 1901, but had moved to 25 Shakespeare Villas by 1911. Samuel’s brother Francis had lived with him since at least 1891, working as his assistant. Samuel died in 1937 aged 89.

The top card back design with square corners points to c.1876, as does the fashion and pose. The bottom card back design and rounded corners points to 1879-1881 but if it weren’t for the backs I would have thought them taken at the same time. Perhaps the chap’s photo is a slightly later reprint from the same photography session? The chap has a wedding ring on, and although I can’t be sure, I think the lady does too.


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