Edwin Debenham - 40
Debenham was an Edinburgh photographer 1883-84.
There was no further reference to any photographers named Debenham in the
Edinburgh trade directories until Edwin
Holford Debenham appeared in 1921-25.
The gap of almost 40 years suggests that this was
probably a different photographer, though perhaps a member of the same
Was Edwin Debenham related to Edwin Holford
believe Edwin Debenham was the same photographer as the one in Weymouth.
He and his 3 photographer brothers were born in Bury St. Edmunds,
Edwin had a son Edwin Holford born 1872 in London who must be
the other Edwin you have on your Website.
Their sister Lucy married an
artist, Edwin Wensley Russell and had a son who married into my family."
Snr had a brother ARTHUR F. who was extremely well known on the Isle of
Wight and enjoyed the privilege of much royal patronage.
brother William Elliott Debenham, also operated a studio on Regent
Street W in London and he married Amanda Southwell.
The Southwell Bros themselves were also well known photographers and
operated a studio on Baker Street, London."
Edwin Debenham -
Elsewhere in Britain
Edwin Debenham, perhaps, the same person as the photographer Edwin
Debenham, born in 1844, perhaps with a middle name, Alfred, whose details
are given below?
1877: operated at Royal Portrait Studios, Weymouth
1901: Debenham & Co (same man?) at York and Gloucester
- c1914: Studio at Workington
- c1918: Still photographing portraits
at the age of 74
1919: Living in Nottingham
details of Edwin Debenham above , b.1844, supplied by Faye Debenham]
Edinburgh and Bournemouth
Was the Edwin Debenham,
Edinburgh, perhaps the same photogrpaher
as Edwin Debenham of Glen View Studio, Old Christchurch Road, Bournemouth?
Thank you to
Lesley Rowe who wrote this about a photograph by Edwin Debenham of Bournemouth.
"The photograph is of two youngish females, both seated,
one cuddling a dog - possibly late Victorian or early Edwardian, judging
by the clothes that are of not very high quality."
There are no medallions on the reverse of the card, simply his name,
‘Artist Photographer’, his initials intertwined.
There certainly seems to be interest in researching the photography of
Edwin Debenham, but I don't expect to be able to add much to this research
myself, so I'll leave that to others. There are others in a
much better position to carry out this research than me. I am
concentrating almost entirely on research into the history
of photographers and photography in Edinburgh.
Edwin Debenham was a photographer only briefly in Edinburgh. His
roots lie elsewhere
Comments from Ian Leith
some notes sent to me by Ian Leith. They may be helpful to others
who are carrying out research into Edwin Debenham and his photography.
Sources of Information
"As you know, the Debenham
problem is very complicated: there seem to be as many as there are
department stores. I
believe that the best way to deal with him and other related Debenhams (I
know of at least 6) is to consult and compare:
(a) what is online on
the rather incredibly vast tome by Raymond V Turley: ‘Isle of Wight
Photographers 1840-1940’ (2001) – which has no index."
you look at Edwin’s brother Arthur [1845-1936] and Arthur’s son Arthur
William [1876-1944] who were both born in Bury St Edmunds, I am aware of
references to studios in Ryde, Cowes, Sandown, Newport [IW], Southsea,
Southampton, London, Gloucester, Luton, Bedford, Brighton, Bournemouth,
Torquay, Weymouth, Scarborough & Weston Super Mare – quite apart from at
least one other unconnected Debenham in Leamington and some others in
Edinburgh does not seem to fit this mostly
southern distribution though according to Photolondon he died in
Darlington having also lived in Reigate and Holdenhurst, Hampshire.
All this only proves the
mobility of photographers."
Acknowledgement Ian Leith, Swindon, Wiltshire, England: August 18, 2008
Debenham produced Cartes de Visite and Cabinet Prints. Here
are three of his Cabinet Prints, which may be helpful in determining
whether or not the Edinburgh photographer, Edwin Debenham was the same
photographer as Edwin (Alfred?) Debenham, b.1844.
Print - 1
Print - 2
Print - 3
Debenham describes himself as Photographer
Royal and as Prize
Medallist. The Medals shown on the back of this Cabinet Print can
enlarged by clicking on the image below:
For permission to reproduce,