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Brett Payne's Victorian & Edwardian
Photograph Collection
Victorian & Edwardian
Photographers & Photographic Studios

Home / Studio Index / England / Derbyshire / Derby / George S. Bristow
George Smart Bristow (1819-1870) of Derby
Image © & Collection of Brett Payne
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

George Smart Bristow was born at Peterborough, Northamptonshire, where he was baptised on 8 August 1819. He was a son of George Bristow (d. bef 1841) and Jane Smart (1798-1861). His father died prior to 1841 and his mother supported the family by operating a day school. An entry in Pigot's 1841 trade directory shows George as a cabinet maker and upholsterer, and in the census of that year he described himself as a painter.

Whether he was painting walls or portraits at that early stage is unknown, but shortly after his marriage to Lucy/Lois Eager in early 1851 at Lewes (Registration District), Sussex, the April 1851 census described him as an artist, leaving little doubt as to his medium. By this time he was living close to the south bank of the Thames in Camberwell, Surrey and his and Lois' first child, a daughter, was born the following year in nearby Peckham. They moved to Hinton, near Bournemouth on the south coast before their son was born in 1853 and, shortly after, back to to Peterborough. The 1854 Post Office directory has an entry for him as a portrait painter working in the precincts of Peterborough Cathedral. Two more children were born to Lois in early 1857 and early 1858, both in Lewes, but whether or not George accompanied her to Sussex is unknown.

Some time in late 1857 or early 1858 George moved with his young family to Derby, where they settled at 5 Regent Terrace, London Road, close to the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel. Between 4 July and 6 October 1858 he advertised weekly in The Derby Mercury, describing his "portraits in oil, water colours, and crayon; miniatures painted on ivory," and in addition offering "photographic portraits, in light and shade, oil or watercolours." These were most likely either mounted albumen prints or collodion positives. The 1861 Census described him only as a portrait painter, and the reverse of his cartes de visite mounts, probably introduced in the early to mid-1860s, give the title "Portrait Painter" prominence over "Art Photographer."

Although a further four children were born in Derby, the family's health appears to have been poor, as three children died and then, in 1870, both parents. George S. Bristow died at Regent Terrace on 3 November 1870, and his wife died there six days later. The 1871 Census shows their eldest son, also named George Smart Bristow, and two sisters still living in the house at 57 London Road, with George working as a photographer, so he presumably took over the studio. However, he died at Peterborough on 28 August 1871, aged 18, and his elder sister Lois died Amelia there in early 1872. At least two children survived: Angelo Ernest Bristow (1857-1922) was working as a tailor in Derby in 1881, and Laurie Lavinia Bristow (1864-) was an art student in Peterborough in 1891.


If you have any further information about or photographs by George S. Bristow, please email me, as I welcome contributions of images to increase the variety displayed. I would also be very keen on hearing from you if you are able to identify or have an interest in any of the subjects in the photographs shown here.
CARD TYPES
Image © & Courtesy of Steve Horsley Image © & Collection of Brett Payne Image © & Courtesy of Robert Silverwood
Type I
Used c. 1863-66
Wreath and ribbon
+ 6 lines of text
Purple ink
Type IIa
Used c. 1865-68
Artist's palette
+ 4 lines of text
Blue ink
Type IIb
Used c. 1868-70
Artist's palette new
+ 4 lines of text
Blue ink

PORTFOLIO Contribute a Photo
Image © & Courtesy of Steve Horsley Image © & Courtesy of Steve Horsley ID #: gsbristow01
Source: Collection of Steve Horsley
Artist: George S. Bristow of London Road, Derby
Negative No. -
Size: Carte de visite (Photo 57 x 87 mm)
Card Type: Type I
Card Thickness:
Date: Undated, probably taken c.1863-1866
Notes: Thin card. Square corners. Marked "G.S. Bristow Derby" on front.
Subject: Unidentified woman, probably in her late 30s or 40s, full length portrait with hat, album and what-not.

Image © & Courtesy of David Simkin Image © & Courtesy of David Simkin ID #: gsbristow02
Source: Collection of David Simkin
Artist: George S. Bristow of London Road, Derby
Negative No. -
Size: Carte de visite
Card Type: Type I
Card Thickness:
Date: Undated, probably taken c.1863-1866
Notes: Thin card. Square corners. Marked "G.S. Bristow Derby" on front.
Subject: Unidentified man, probably in his 40s or 50s, full length portrait with chair and what-not.

Image © & Collection of Brett Payne Image © & Collection of Brett Payne ID #: gsbristow03
Source: Collection of Brett Payne
Artist: Bristow of London Road, Derby
Negative No. -
Size: Carte de visite (Mount 63.5 x 105 mm; Photo 60.5 x 89.5 mm)
Card Type: Type IIa
Card Thickness:
Date: Undated, probably taken c.1865-1868
Notes: Thin card. Square corners. Marked "Bristow Derby" on front.
Subject: Unidentified woman, probably in her 20s, full length portrait with hat, what-not and photo albums.

Image © & Courtesy of Robert Silverwood Image © & Courtesy of Robert Silverwood ID #: gsbristow04
Source: Collection of Robert Silverwood
Artist: Bristow of London Road, Derby
Negative No. -
Size: Carte de visite
Card Type: Type IIb
Card Thickness:
Date: Undated, probably taken c.1865-1868
Notes: Thin card. Square corners. Marked "Bristow Derby" on front.
Subject: Group of three unidentified men, all probably in their early 20s, full length seated and standing portraits with hats, cane, chairs and table.

Image © & Courtesy of Robert Silverwood Image © & Courtesy of Robert Silverwood ID #: gsbristow05
Source: Collection of Robert Silverwood
Artist: Bristow of London Road, Derby
Negative No. -
Size: Carte de visite
Card Type: Type IIb
Card Thickness:
Date: Undated, probably taken c.1868-1870
Notes: Thin card. Square corners. Marked "Bristow Derby" on front.
Subject: Unidentified woman, probably in her late 20s or 30s, with child, aged 3 to 5 years, vignetted head-and-shoulders portrait.

REFERENCES

Historical Directories from the University of Leicester
Indexed 1841- 1901 Census Images from Ancestry
UK City & County Directories from Ancestry
Partial Transcript of the GRO Index from FreeBMD
White, F. & Co. (1857) History, Gazetteer and Directory of the County of Derby, Transcribed by Neil Wilson.
International Genealogical Index (IGI) from FamilySearch
The Derby Mercury, 19th Century British Library Newspapers, Gale CENGAGE Learning


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Many thanks to Robert Silverwood, Steve Horsley and David Simkin for kind contributions of images.


All images and information on these pages are © 2006-2011 Brett Payne unless otherwise stated