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Home / Studio Index / England / Devon / Dawlish / William James Chapman
William James Chapman of Dawlish
Image © & Collection of Brett Payne

William James Chapman was born at St Thomas, Exeter in 1830, son of James William Chapman (1811-1837) and Mary Yendall. He married Rosina Nethercott (1826-1885) at Exeter in 1854, and they had three sons.

William James CHAPMAN bapt. 18 Jul 1830 St Thomas the Apostle, Exeter DEV m: c.Aug 1854 Exeter DEV Rosina NETHERCOTT bapt. 21 May 1826 St Edmund, Exeter DEV d. c.May 1885 Newton Abbott DEV
|- William Samuel CHAPMAN b. c.Feb 1860 Exeter DEV m: c.Feb 1884 Stoke Damerel DEV Amy Nicholson AYERS b. c.1863 Plymouth DEV
   |- Amy Rose CHAPMAN b. c.Feb 1885 Dawlish DEV
   |- Gertrude Mary CHAPMAN b. c.Nov 1888 Dawlish DEV
   |- Lilian CHAPMAN b. c.Aug 1891 Dawlish DEV
   |- Winifred CHAPMAN b. c.Nov 1892 Dawlish DEV
   |- Stanley William CHAPMAN b. c.Nov 1898 Dawlish DEV
   |- Dorothy Margaret CHAPMAN b. c.Mar 1901 Dawlish DEV
|- Henry James CHAPMAN b. c.Nov 1861 Exeter DEV m: c.May 1885 Matilda POMROY b. c.1861 Goodleigh DEV
   |- Frederick William CHAPMAN b. c.Aug 1887 Barnstaple DEV
   |- Marjory Grace CHAPMAN b. c.Nov 1888 Barnstaple DEV
   |- Henry Pomroy CHAPMAN b. c.Feb 1893 Barnstaple DEV
   |- Matilda Rose M. CHAPMAN b. c.May 1895 Barnstaple DEV
|- George Emanuel CHAPMAN b. c.1866 Dawlish DEV m: c.Aug 1894 Taunton SOM Ellen MORRIS b. c.1871 Taunton SOM
   |- Miriam Adelaide CHAPMAN b. c.May 1895 Taunton SOM
   |- Muriel Grace CHAPMAN b. c.May 1896 Taunton SOM
   |- Hilda Mary CHAPMAN b. c.May 1899 Taunton SOM
In 1860 and 1861, William J. Chapman and his family were living at Perkins Court in Exeter St Edmund, where he worked as a master dyer and presser. Between then and 1866, when their third son was born, they had moved to Dawlish, and Samuel had become a photographer and proprietor of a toy shop. Scott (1985) gives 1866 as the earliest sighting of Chapman's studio in Regent Street, but states that it was possibly established in 1863. In 1871 the census shows the family at 10 & 11 Regent Street, and the following dates and addresses are provided for the various studio premises by Scott (ibid).

A decade later, still in Regent Street, William described himself merely as a photographer, as did his eldest son William Samuel Chapman, then aged 21. William S. Chapman married in early 1884, and by 1891 had become an established partner in the business of "Chapman & Son." They appear to have opened a second studio at 6 Hatcher Street (also in Dawlish) in about 1887. In 1891 they described themselves as "photographers, stationers & frame manufacturers," but by 1901 it had changed to "photographers & fancy dealers." According to Scott (ibid), the business eventually closed its doors in 1967. William's two younger sons, Henry & George, both became watchmakers, settling in Barnstaple (Devon) and Taunton (Somerset), respectively.

If you have any further information about William J. Chapman and his studio, or if you have any photographs by him, please email me. I welcome contributions of images to increase the variety of coverage on this site. If you are able to identify or have an interest in any of the subjects in the photographs shown below, I would also be very keen on hearing from you.
Image © & Collection of Brett Payne
Type I
Used c. early to mid-1870s
Wreath of flowers
four fonts & extra text
Violet ink on white card

PORTFOLIO Contribute a Photo
Image © & Collection of Brett Payne Image © & Collection of Brett Payne ID #: wjchapman01
Source: Collection of Brett Payne
Artist: W.J. Chapman, of Princes St & 10 Regent St, Dawlish
Negative No. -
Size: Carte de visite (Mount 64 x 105.5 mm; Photo 58 x 92 mm)
Card Type: Type I (violet on white) - wreath of flowers with four fonts & extra text.
Date: Undated, probably taken c. early to mid-1870s
Notes: Thin card. Square corners.
Subject: Unidentified woman, probably in her late 20s or 30s, three-quarter length standing portrait with chair, in oval frame.


Historical Directories from the University of Leicester
Indexed 1841- 1901 Census Images from
Partial Transcript of the GRO Index from FreeBMD
Photographers in Devon 1842-1939 : a brief directory for photograph collectors, by C.G. Scott, 1985, The PhotoHistorian Supplement No. 101, ISSN 0957-0209

Trade Directory entries

W. White's History, Gazetteer & Directory of Devon, 1878-79
- Chapman William J. photographer, 9-10 Regent st. Dawlish

Kelly's Directory of Devon, 1889
- Chapman William James, photographer & stationer & fancy repository, Park road & 10 & 11 Regent street, Dawlish

Kelly's Directory of Devon & Cornwall, 1893
- Chapman William James & Son, photographers & stationers & fancy repository, Park road & 10 & 11 Regent street, Dawlish

Kelly's Directory of Devon & Cornwall, 1902
- Chapman William James & Son, photographers, Hatcher street & fancy repository, Park road, Dawlish


Many thanks to *** for kind contributions of images and information.

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