ER Yerbury

Dating Old Photos

Negative Numbers

It was common practice for Yerbury, and other early photographers, to write the negative number in pencil on the backs of their cabinet prints and cartes de visite.  These were the two sizes of photographs mounted on card that were very popular in the late C19, cabinet prints being the larger size.

These negative numbers were used if the purchaser wished to order further copies of their photos.  They provided an easy way for the photographer to find the original negative and make more prints from it.  The photographer would need only the negative number, not the date of the previous sitting or sitter's name.

Negatives would have been numbered sequentially (possibly one series of numbers for cabinet prints and another series for cartes de visite) so they can sometimes be a help in dating photos, especially if the owner has taken the trouble to write the date of the photo on the back of the card beside the negative number  -  but in my experience it is unusual to find this.

Negative Numbers and Dates

I currently have 29 cabinet prints and 84 cartes de visite in my collection.  Almost all of them have negative numbers written on the back.  These numbers range up to about 42,000, which I assume would have been produced around 1900.  Relatively few cabinet prints and cartes de visite were produced after 1900, as photographers started to produce different sizes of photo.

Only three of the Yerbury photos in my collection have dates written on them.  They are:

-  Sep 1871:  carte de visite, 10,853

-  Sep 1874:  carte de visite, 28,164

-   Mar 1895:  cabinet print 36,096

The negative numbers and dates above suggest that Yerbury produced about 28,000 negatives in the first five years of operation, from 1869, but only about half that number over about the next thirty years.

Is that likely to be true?

The Backs of Cabinet Prints and Cartes de Visite

More than any other Edinbrugh photographer that I am aware of, Yerbury appear to have frequently changed the style and colour of the backs of their cabinet prints and cartes de visite.  Here are examples of some of their carte de visite backs:

Yerbury  -  Carte de Visite  -  3  -  Back Yerbury  -  Carte de Visite  -  4  -  Back Yerbury  -  Carte de Visite  -  5  -  Back

My collection of Yerbury photos includes:

- 9 varieties of back for cabinet prints.

-  36 varieties of back for cartes de visite.

I've not yet attempted to match all the styles of back to the dates that the photos were produced.

Studio Addresses

Yerbury's studio was at the corner of Hanover Street and Princes Street.  The address normally used was either 1 or 3 Hanover Street (or sometimes South Hanover Street).

However, I have two early cabinet prints (nos 7,866 and 8,809) which give the address:  'The Central Studio, Princes Street' on the back.

The first of these (7,866) has a different studio address printed on the front of the card, below the photo:  "The General Studio".


The Yerbury family of photographers

ER Yerbury x 3  -  Professional photographers in Edinburgh


eDWARD rEUBEN yERBURY  1843-1933

Edward Reuben Yerbury - 1843-1932

eDWARD rEUBEN yERBURY  1881-1952

Edward Reuben Yerbury - 1881-1952

Edward Roper Yerbury  -  1915-1940  -  aged about three   Edward Roper Yerbury  -  1915-1940

Edward Roper Yerbury - 1915-1940

David Stenhouse Yerbury  1925-1980

David Stenhouse Yerbury -1925-1980

Trevor Yerbury  -  born 1951

Trevor ER Yerbury - 1951- .....

and Faye Yerbury

Eleanor D Yerbury - b.1845

Laura G Yerbury


Yerbury Studio  -  1892

Yerbury Studio  -  Photos  -  1932

Yerbury Studio  -  Photo  -  1869-1912


Yerbury  -  Photo of de Gaulle

Yerbury  -  Circular Photo of Watson's


Yerbury & Stewart

Yerbury  -  Businesses Taken Over


ER Yerbury -  3 Generations

Yerbury -  Family Tree

Studio Photos

Yerbury  -  Cartes de Visite

Yerbury  -  Cartes de Visite - backs

Yerbury  -  Cabinet Prints

Yerbury  -  Dating old photos

Yerbury  -  Early 1900s

Yerbury  -  Platinotype Prints

Yerbury  -  Postcard Portraits

Yerbury & Son  -  Platinotype Portrait

Yerbury & Son  -  Workers, 1907


ER Yerbury  -  Postcard views