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Derbyshire Photographers' Profiles
by Brett Payne, of Tauranga, New Zealand
James Brennen

of Derby

James Brennen was one of the earliest Derby daguerrotypists, opening a studio in Irongate in 1853.  He was in business for 45 years, although he later moved to Wilmot Street and then Friargate.

Go straight to Portfolio


James Brennen - occasionally spelled Brennan - was born c. 1819 at Long Acre, London.  He, his wife Ann and daughter Agnes moved to Derby between 1845 and 1851, where they were working as servants for one John Butler at Duffield Road, St. Alkmund's parish in April 1851.

Brennen established a daguerreotype gallery at 14 Irongate (Birks, 1934) in about 1853 (Craven, 1993), although he was living at 6 Wilmot Street in 1857 (White).  By 1860 he had moved to a new studio at 12 Wilmot Road, where he and his family were shown living in April 1861 (Census).  It is interesting to note that he described himself at this time as a "photographer's artist."  By 1866, according to the Derby electoral registers, he had moved to 108 Friargate.  The 24 January 1866 edition of The Derby Mercury reported the following disaster at the studio:

Early yesterday morning a fire was discovered at the photographoic studio of Mr. Brennan, in Iron-gate.  An alarm was speedily raised, and Mr. Hilton, Inspector Fearn, and the fire brigade were in immediate attendance.  At the first glance the chief perceived that all hopes of saving the wooden studio must be abandoned, whilst the flames threatened to destroy the adjoining buildings.  The strong stream of water was therefore used to extinguish the flames that were licking the walls of Mr. Evans's warehouse.  In this effort success was speed, and by energetic exertions the brigade soon subdued the fire.  This was not effect, however, till Mr. Brennan's rooms were gutted, and his valuable instruments and his chemicals all destroyed.  Mr. Brennan was insured for 250l. in the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire ompany, and we hope this sum will all but cover his loss.

In 1870 the studio is shown by Harrod's trade directory at this address, where it remained until at least 1898.  The electoral registers for 1892-1893 show that Brennen also briefly had a warehouse at 35 Cowley street.


Portfolio
Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin Unidentified young woman
by J. Brennen of Derby
Undated, but probably taken c. 1862

Format: Carte de Visite
Size: Mount 63.5 x 105.5 mm Photo 59 x 90 mm

Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin

Notes
Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin

Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library Rev. R. Macklin (c1791-1865)
by J. Brennen of Derby
Dated on the reverse, 1862

Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library

Notes: Inscribed on the reverse, "Rev. R. Macklin, Xt. Church, 1862."  The Reverend Roseingrave Macklin was first vicar of Christ Church, Derby.  This photo was taken three years before his death, when he was aged 70.
Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library

Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library Rev. F. Lynch
by J. Brennen of Derby
Dated on the reverse, May 1863

Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library

Notes: Inscribed on the reverse, "Rev. F. Lynch, Curate S. Michael's, Derby. May /63."
Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library

Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library Photographer Richard Keene
by J. Brennen of Derby
Dated on the reverse, June 1863

Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library

Notes:
Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library

Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin Unidentified young girl
by J. Brennen of Derby
Undated, but probably taken c. 1863

Format: Carte de Visite
Size: Mount 61.5 x 105 mm Photo 58.5 x 89.5 mm

Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin

Notes
Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin

Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin Unidentified young boy
by J. Brennen of Derby
Undated, but probably taken c. 1863

Format: Carte de Visite
Size: Mount 62 x 105 mm Photo 59 x 89.5 mm

Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin

Notes
Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin

Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library John Adlington
by J. Brennen of Derby
Dated on the reverse, July 1863

Format: Carte de Visite (hand coloured)

Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library

Notes:  Inscribed on the reverse, "Jno. Adlington, July 1863."
Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library

Image © & courtesy of Christine Hibbert Unidentified elderly woman
by J. Brennen of Derby
Undated, but probably taken c. 1863

Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & courtesy of Christine Hibbert

Nothing further is known about this photograph

Image © & courtesy of Christine Hibbert

Image © & courtesy of John Bradley Unidentified young man
by J. Brennen of Derby
Undated, but probably taken c. 1863
Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & courtesy of John Bradley

Nothing further is known about this photo.

Image © & courtesy of John Bradley

Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library G. Strutt of Belper (photograph of an engraving)
by J. Brennen of Derby
Undated, but probably produced in the mid-1860s

Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library

Notes:  Inscribed on the reverse, "G. Strutt, of Belper."  This is probably George Henry Strutt (1826-1895), Magistrate and Cotton Manufacturer of Belper.
Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library

Image © & courtesy of David Simkin Unidentified young woman
by J. Brennen of Derby
Undated, but probably taken c. 1863-1865

Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & courtesy of David Simkin

(see below for notes)

Image © & courtesy of David Simkin

Image © & courtesy of David Simkin Unidentified woman
by J. Brennen of Derby
Undated, but probably taken on same occasion as the photo above, c. 1863-1865.
Format: Carte de Visite
Reverse as shown for photo above

Image © & courtesy of David Simkin

Nothing further is known about this photograph.  However the facial features of this lady look remarkably similar to those of the younger lady in the photo above.  The two photos were purchased on the same occasion, and it seems likely that they were at least related, if not mother and child.

Image © & courtesy of David Simkin

Photo © & collection of Brett Payne Unidentified young man
by James Brennen of Derby
Undated, but probably taken in the early 1870s
Format: Carte de Visite
Size: Mount 64 x 102.5 mm Photo 57.5 x 89 mm

Photo © & collection of Brett Payne

Notes

Photo © & collection of Brett Payne

Photo © & courtesy of Cynthia Maddock Unidentified man with a beard
by James Brennen of Derby
Undated, but probably taken in the mid-1870s
Format: Carte de Visite

Photo © & courtesy of Cynthia Maddock

Notes

Photo © & courtesy of Cynthia Maddock
Photo © & courtesy of Cynthia Maddock Unidentified man with a beard
by James Brennen of Derby
Undated, but probably taken in the mid-1870s
Format: Carte de Visite

Photo © & courtesy of Cynthia Maddock

Notes

Photo © & courtesy of Cynthia Maddock

Photo © & courtesy of Cynthia Maddock Unidentified woman
by James Brennen of Derby
Undated, but probably taken in the mid-1870s
Format: Carte de Visite

Photo © & courtesy of Cynthia Maddock

Notes

Photo © & courtesy of Cynthia Maddock

Half-length portrait of unidentified boy,
by J. Brennen of Derby,
Undated
Format: Unknown

Image © & courtesy of Picture the Past

Nothing further known about this photo


Photo © & collection of Brett Payne Unidentified man
by James Brennen of Derby
Undated, but probably taken in the early to mid-1870s
Format: Carte de Visite
Size: 63 x 106 mm (mount) 585 x 89 mm (photo)

Photo © & collection of Brett Payne

Notes:

Photo © & collection of Brett Payne

Photo © & collection of Brett Payne Unidentified woman
by James Brennen of Derby
Undated, but probably taken in the early to mid-1870s
Format: Carte de Visite
Size: 64 x 105.5 mm (mount) 56.5 x 89 mm (photo)

Photo © & collection of Brett Payne

Notes:

Photo © & collection of Brett Payne

Photo © Brett Payne & courtesy of David Simkin Unidentified young man,
by James Brennen of Derby
Undated, but probably taken c. 1874
Format: Carte de Visite
Size: 64 x 105.5 mm (mount) 56.5 x 89 mm (photo)

Photo © & collection of Brett Payne, courtesy of David Simkin

Notes

Photo © Brett Payne & courtesy of David Simkin

Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library D.B. Jones
by James Brennen of Derby
Undated, but probably taken in the mid-1870s

Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library

Notes:  Inscribed on the reverse, "D.B. Jones."  Possibly David Blackwell Jones (b. 1838), a Welsh bookkeeper from Caernarvon who worked for Bemrose & Sons in the 1870s, and lived in Regent Street, Litchurch.
Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library

Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library Henry Monkhouse (1837-1905)
by James Brennen of Derby
Undated, but probably taken in the mid-1870s

Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library


Notes: Inscribed on the reverse, "Monkhouse, Chemist."  Henry Monkhouse (1837-1905) was a chemist and druggist from Dalston in Cumberland.  He married Annie Hodgkinson from Carlisle in 1870 and moved to Derby shortly after, where he was a chemist's assistant, later setting up his own shop at 20 Iron gate.  Richard Keene also photographed Monkhouse at around this time, in his garb as an officer in the 1st Derbyshire Rifles.
Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library

Photo © & collection of Brett Payne
Unidentified young woman
by James Brennen of Derby
Undated, but probably taken in the mid-1870s
Format: Carte de Visite
Size: Mount 63.5 x 106 mm Photo 57.5 x 89 mm

Photo © & collection of Brett Payne

Nothing further is known about this photograph

Photo © & collection of Brett Payne

Photo © & collection of Brett Payne Unidentified woman
by James Brennen of Derby
Undated, but probably taken in the mid-1870s
Format: Carte de Visite
Size: Mount 63 x 105.5 mm Photo 56.5 x 91 mm

Photo © & collection of Brett Payne

Notes
Photo © & collection of Brett Payne

Image © & courtesy of Robert Silverwood Unidentified subject
by James Brennen of Derby
Undated, but probably taken in the mid-1870s

Size: 65 x 106 mm
Format: Carte de Visite
(central elliptical area slightly raised)

Image © & courtesy of Robert Silverwood

Notes:

Image © & courtesy of Robert Silverwood

Image © & collection of Brett Payne Unidentified young woman
by James Brennen of Derby
Undated, but probably taken in the mid-1870s

Format: Carte de Visite
Size: Mount 63 x 100 mm (trimmed at base) Photo 57 x 91 mm
(central elliptical area slightly raised)

Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Notes:

Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library Mr. Fiddes
by James Brennen of Derby
Undated, but probably taken in the early 1870s

Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library


Notes:  Insribed on the reverse, "Mr Fiddes, All Saints, 187-."
Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library

Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library Frederick Longdon (c1820-1894)
by James Brennen of Derby
Undated, but probably taken in the early 1870s

Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library


Notes:  Inscribed on the reverse, "F. Longdon."  Frederick Longdon was a Derby surgical bandage manufacturer, businessman, J.P. and Borough Alderman.  His family residence was on Osmaston Road, at Quarndon.  He would have been in his early fifties at the time he sat for this portrait.
Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library

Image © & courtesy of Paul Ellis Unidentified young man
by James Brennen of Derby
Undated, but probably taken in the mid-1870s
Format: Carte de Visite
(central elliptical area slightly raised)

Image © & courtesy of Paul Ellis

Nothing further is known about this photograph

Image © & courtesy of Paul Ellis

Image © & collection of Brett Payne Unidentified woman with basket of flowers at gate
by J. Brennen of Derby
Undated, but probably taken in the early to mid-1880s
Format: Cabinet card
Size: Mount 110 x 166.5 mm Photo 104 x 140 mm

Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Notes: See smaller, CDV-sized version of this photograph below.

Image © & collection of Brett Payne
Image © & collection of Brett Payne Unidentified woman with basket of flowers at gate
by J. Brennen of Derby
Undated, but probably taken in the early to mid-1880s
Format: Carte de visite
Size: Mount 63.5 x 104 mm Photo 58.5 x 89 mm

Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Notes:  See larger, cabinet-sized version above.

Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Image © & collection of Lies Ligthard Unidentified young man
by James Brennen of Derby
Undated, but probably taken in the late 1880s to mid-1890s
Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & collection of Lies Ligthard

Notes


Image © & collection of Brett Payne
Unidentified young man in bowler hat
by James Brennen of Derby
Undated, but probably taken in the late 1880s to mid-1890s
Format: Carte de Visite
Size: Mount 63.5 x 104.5 mm Photo 57 x 86 mm

Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Notes

Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library W. Davey
by James Brennen of Derby
Dated 1895

Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library

Notes:  Inscribed on the reverse, "Mr. W. Davey, ??tain, Wine Merchant."
Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library

References
Images & photographs kindly provided by Nigel Aspdin, Lies Ligthart, Derby Local Studies Library, Cynthia Maddock, Brett Payne, John Bradley, Paul Ellis, Picture the Past, David Simkin, Christine Hibbert and Robert Silverwood
1851 Census of Derby - Courtesy of Geoff Mather
1861 Derbyshire Census - CDROM published by ArchiveCD Books
1881 UK Census - online from the LDS church
1891 UK Census - online from Ancestry.com
1901 UK Census index - online from the PRO
FreeBMD
North East Midland Photographic Record - Picture the Past
Anon (1855) The Post Office Directory of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. University of Leicester's Digital Library of Historical Directories
White, F. & Co. (1857) History, Gazetteer and Directory of the County of Derby. Transcribed by Neil Wilson.
Harrison, Harrod & Co. (1860) Directory and Gazetteer of Derbyshire, London.
Harrod & Co. (1870) Postal & Commercial Directory of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland & Staffordshire. University of Leicester's Digital Library of Historical Directories
Wright C.N. (1874) Directory of South Derbyshire, Third Edition, October 1874, Derby.
Anon (1881) Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire, Kelly & Co., London.
Anon (1887) Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire, Kelly & Co., London.
Anon (1891) Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland & Nottinghamshire, Kelly & Co., London. University of Leicester's Digital Library of Historical Directories
Anon (1895) Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire, Kelly & Co. Limited, London.
Anon (1895) History, Topography, and Directory of Derbyshire, T. Bulmer & Co. - by kind courtesy of Sonia Addis-Smith
Derby Electoral Registers 1868-1900
Birks, F.E. (1934) History of the Derby Photographic Society, p. 3, Courtesy of David Simkin

Craven, Maxwell (ed.) (1993) Keene's Derby, Breedon Books, Derby, pp. 200-202. - by kind courtesy of Sonia Addis-Smith

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