Jersey's earliest photographs - a timeline

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Photography


W16VCJ1853Hugo.jpg

Victoria College photographed by Victor Hugo's son Charles in 1853, months after it opened


Photography can be said to have arrived in Jersey in 1840, when a demonstration was given of the Daguerreotype process which had only been revealed in France the previous year. The island was a particularly popular place for early photographers to operate, because until 1852, none of the patents which had been taken out to cover the various processes in other parts of the British Isles, and in France and elsewhere in Europe, were valid in the island.


This page traces the development of photography in Jersey, and should be read in conjunction with:

We highlight some of the earliest surviving pictures taken in Jersey. For the first two decades they are remarkably few in number, although there is a strong suspicion that many exist in private collections which have never been published in print or on the internet. Digital copies of some of them were sent to us anonymously after this article first appeared here in February 2016.

St Helier Harbour from an 1866 stereo pair, taken by George Bashford, one of the earliest photographs of this view
Mont Mado, photographed by Charles Hugo in 1854

1840s-1860s

  • 1 May 1840 - demonstration of Daguerreotype process by unknown photographer
  • Summer 1841 - Thomas Sutton, who seven years later moved to Jersey, met ‘a youth of my own age, who had Daguerreotype apparatus, and was amusing himself with taking views over the town and harbour of St Helier’.
  • 1841 - Scotsman William Collie appears in the census. He would become one of Jersey's most important early photographers, but he does not appear to have taken up photography, certainly not on a commercial basis, until later. In 1843 he was advertising as a professor of drawing and a portrait painter
  • 3 August 1842 - George Mikulowski, a former Professor of the Royal College of Caen, advertised a variety of services including Daguerreotype portraiture, "d'une ressemblance parfaite, en une et deux minutes de pose", (a perfect likeness in one or two minutes of posing). The Mikulowski studio was situated at 4 Seaton Place, the home of a Mr Le Gallais.
  • August 1842 - Monsieur Roemhild, a pupil of Daguerre, visits Jersey and demonstrates the invention. He sets up a business at 22 Don Street
  • January-April 1843 - a brief partnership is formed by Mikulowski and Roemhild, operating from Laura Cottage, St Saviours Road. When the partnership was dissolved Mikulowski moved to 2 Vauxhall Street, and later to Georgetown, where he remained until 1846
  • September 1843 - Alfred Barber, subject to an injunction preventing him from working in Nottingham, announced his arrival in Jersey, where he set up as a portrait photographer at Lozeys Hotel de Paris until September the following year
  • September 1845 - Artist Philip John Ouless offers photographic services from his studio at 8 Royal Square. A daguerreotype he took that year, possibly a self portrait, in the collection of La Société Jersiaise, is believed to be the oldest photograph taken in the island which survives
  • 1846 - A picture of John Collie, with a basket of fruit he presented to Queen Victoria on her visit to the island, may have been taken at the time, although it is suspected that the print in possession of La Société Jersiaise may not be nearly so old.
  • 1847 - The earliest date which can be attributed to any of the photographs taken by William Collie (see 1841). Commercial portraits exist from this year and he also sent a set of photographs of Jersey market women to the Art Union journal
  • 1848 - Thomas Sutton established his studio in St Brelade's Bay
  • July 1848 - Henry Mullins, who would become the most prolific of early Jersey portrait photographers, established a business at 7 Royal Square
  • 1849-1851 - Approximate date for surviving pictures of St Helier Harbour by unknown photographer
  • 1850 - Bouillards, Daguerreotype photographers trading from 16 Mulcaster Street
  • 1851 - William Collie's studies of Jersey market women exhibited at London's Great Exhibition
  • 5 August 1852 - renowned French dramatist Victor Hugo arrives in Jersey with his family. He and his son Charles were both keen photographers and many pictures taken by Charles, and his father's friend Auguste Vacquerie over the next three years, survive, particularly in the collection of Musée d'Orsay in Paris
  • 1855 - A Delatoure opened his business at 28 David Place, where he would remain for 11 years
  • 1858- George and James Bashford established photographic businesses on opposite sides of Bath Street. The relationship between the two is uncertain, although they may have been father and son
  • 1858 - Philip Godfray started trading in the Royal Square. He moved to New Street in 1863, Bath Street in 1873, and various other addresses, remaining in business for a total of 40 years
  • 1859 - W T Davy opened his business at 6 Charing Cross. He would later trade from Queen Street and Colomberie
  • 1859 - Joshua Picot opened in Beresford Street, where he traded for 11 years
  • 1860 - Pictures of St Helier Harbour taken by a Mr and Mrs Slater are believed to date from the beginning of the decade. Mrs Slater was later in business in 1876 at 4 Halkett Place.
  • 1860 - Pictures of Vinchelez believed to date from about then
  • 14 September 1866 - Picture of St Helier Harbour, Weighbridge, Esplanade and the town taken by George Bashford believed to be the earliest surviving picture of the town of St Helier
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