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Derbyshire Photographers' Profiles
by Brett Payne, of Tauranga, New Zealand
Richard Keene (1825-1894), Richard Keene Junior (1852-1899) and
Charles Barrow Keene (1863-1937)
of Derby & Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire

Although primarily known for his landscapes and architectural subjects, Richard Keene and subsequently his son Charles B. Keene operated a studio at Irongate in Derby from the late 1850s until at least the 1930s.  Richard Keene junior had premises in Burton-upon-Trent from 1891.


Go straight to Portfolio


Richard Keene was born on 15 May 1825 at Bethnal Green, London, son of Richard Keene and Priscilla Kimpton.  In 1828, they moved to Derby where Richard senior became the manager of Frost & Stevenson's Queen street silk mill.  Richard Keene junior was educated at Thomas Swanwick's academy at 25 St Mary's Gate, Derby, before being apprenticed to Thomas Richardson & Sons, a firm of Ashbourne printers, moving to their London offices.  He subequently trained in publishing and bookselling at another firm, Simpkin Marshall & Co., before returning to Derby. In about 1849 Richard Keene set up a letter press printing business at 24 Irongate, and by April 1851 described himself as a printer, publisher and bookseller, although he still lived at home with his parents in Middle Brook Street.  He married Mary Eleanor Barrow (1829-) in 1851, and over the next seventeen years they had five sons and four daughters.  By 1852, he also had premises at 11 Lodge Lane, presumably where the printing works were housed.

An 1857 trade directory (White) includes the following entry, showing that he had expanded his repetoire considerably:  

Keene Richard, printer, publisher and book-seller; wholesale and retail stationer and paper dealer, copper plate printer, machine ruler and bookbinder for the trade.  Envelopes stamped, dies sunk, and plates engraved to order. Publisher of the Derby Telegraph every Saturday, 22, Irongate.

In 1861 the family were living on the shop premises at 22 Irongate (All Saints parish), although in 1881, by which time Richard's wife had died, they had moved to 7 Kedleston Road, St Alkmund's, and by 1891 to 100 Radbourne Street, St Werburgh's parish.



Richard Keene (1825-1894), photographed in June 1963 by fellow studio photographer, James Brennen, copyright and courtesy of the Derby Local Studies Library

Although primarily a printer, bookseller, stationer and, by 1855, publisher of the Derbyshire Telegraph, he developed an interest in photography, and travelled throughout Derbyshire with friends, taking pictures of architecture, topography and landscapes.  He started by selling prints of the high quality photos for which he became reknowned, but also set up and operated a successful portrait studio from at least 1859, produced private commissions for firms, estates and families, and took photos in many other counties.  He was an associate of Fox Talbot, and his work reportedly included commissions by the Royal Family.  In 1884 he was a founder member of the Derby Photographic Society, he was the recipient of 34 major awards, and he also became President Elect of the Photographic Convention of the United Kingdom.

Although he was working in an accountant's office in St Marylebone, London in 1871, Richard Keene's eldest son, Richard Keene Junior (1852-1899), became a photographer too, starting off in Siddals Road and Derwent Street (1877), Derby, and in about 1878 opened a studio at 52 High Street, Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire.  On his early CDVs, Richard Keene Junior claimed to be the "inventor of the New Dry Process."

The London Gazette of 18 January 1878 includes a notice to the creditors of Richard Keene, the younger, of Derwent-street, of a meeting of his creditors at Derby on 7 February 1878, for the "liquidation by arrangement," presumably of his photographic business.  Another issue of 15 March 1878 contains a notice "of a bankruptcy petition against Richard Keene the younger, of Derwent-street, Derby ... Photographer, Carver and Gilder, and Picture Dealer," concluding that he was "ordered that [he] be, and he is hereby, adjudged bankrupt," on 11 March 1878.  On 27 Match 1878, Thomas Henry Harrison of the Wardwick, Derby, was "appointed trustee of the bankrupt."

On 24 April 1878, the following auction notice appeared in The Derby Mercury:

Re. R. Keene, Junr.  In Liquidation.  Lecture Hall, Derby.  To Picture Dealers, Photographers, Parties Furnishing, and Others.  To be sold by auction (by order of Mr. T.H. Harrison, the Trustee), on Tuesday, April 30, 1878, the whole of the stock-in-trade of Mr. R. Keene, Junr., Picture Dealer and Photographer, Derwent-street (which will be removed for convenience of Sale to the Lexture Hall, Derby), consisiting of oval and square gilt and other picture frames, mouldings, large quantityog oleographs, framed and unframed, chromos, prints and photographs, mirrors, brackets, picture mounts, straw boards, scraps for screens, benches and tools for frame making, gold size and varnish, soda, whiting, glue, magic lantern and slides, gasometer, gas bags, 10 ft. screen and pair elevators, pressure boards, jets, limes, oxygen retort, indiarubber tubing, foot lights, &c.  Crates, glass, laboratory stores, a very excellent portrait gallery, erected at great cost, contents of gallery, including cabinet, triplet, and C.D.V. lens, cameras, and printing frames, together with the shop fixtures, furniture, and other important items.  Sale at Eleven o'clock prompt.  N.B. - The Portrait Gallery will not be removed, but will be sold at Derwent-street, at the conclusion of sale of effects at the Lecture Hall.

The final wrapping up of the liquidation appears to have been later that year, with the publication in the London Gazette of 11 October 1878 of the declaration of a dividend in Keene's estate.  This matter appears to coincide with Richard Keene Junior's move to Burton.

Second son William Caxton Keene (1855-1910) studied art in London, and became a successful watercolour landscape painter and engraver.  His third son, Charles Barrow Keene (1863-1937) became an accomplished photographer in his own right, was awarded medals for his photographs and was made a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in 1895.  Charles married Julia Rose Prebury at Camberwell, Surrey in 1888.  He continued operating the family business with the help of his younger brother Alfred John Keene (1864-1930) after his father's death in 1894, until his own death in 1937.  Alfred, like his older brother William, painted in watercolours.  The youngest son Henry Keene (1868-) became a chartered accountant.

Another noted English photographer, James Willoughby Harrison (1873-1960), trained with Richard Keene and, upon Charles Keene's death in 1937, inherited books and photographic collections from both.  J.W. Harrison's daughter, in turn, donated these to the Lambeth Palace Library.


Portfolio
Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library Henry Latimer Kemp (c.1832-1869)
by Richard Keene of Derby
Undated, but probably taken c. 1863
Format: Carte de Visite, Diamond Cameo Portrait

Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library

Notes:  Inscribed on the reverse, "H.L. Kemp, 06186, Derby Mercury."  Henry Latimer Kemp was shown as a news paper writer in the 1861 Census, living at 50 Green Lane, Derby St Werburgh.  He presumably worked for the Derby Mercury newspaper.  He died at Derby in 1869.
Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library

Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library Bust of Francis Noel Clarke Mundy (1739-1815)
photo by Richard Keene of Derby
Undated, but possibly taken in the early to mid-1860s
Format: Albumen print

Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library


Notes: Inscribed on the reverse, "F.N.C. Mundy, Esq., Obit., Nov. 1815, Bust by Chantrey."  This bust of the Derbyshire poet Mundy, originally created in 1820, appears to have survived, and is currently located in the County Hall (former Rural District Council offices) in St Mary's Gate, Derby.
Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library

Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin Unidentified elderly gentleman
by Richard Keene of Derby
Undated, but probably taken in the mid- to late 1860s
Format: Carte de Visite
Size: Mount 63.5 x 104.5 mm Photo 57 x 90.5 mm

Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin

Notes
Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin

Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin Unidentified elderly gentleman
by Richard Keene of Derby
Undated, but probably taken in the mid- to late 1860s
Format: Carte de Visite
Size: Mount 62 x 105.5 mm Photo 60 x 98 mm

Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin

Notes
Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin

Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library Edward Gamble (1820-1886)
by Richard Keene of Derby
Undated, but probably taken in the mid- to late 1860s
Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library

Notes: Inscribed on the reverse, "Edward Gamble."  Edward Gamble was a Derby solicitor.
Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library

Image © & courtesy of Cynthia Maddock Unidentified woman
by Richard Keene of Derby
Undated, but probably taken in the late 1860s

Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & courtesy of Cynthia Maddock

Notes
Image © & courtesy of Cynthia Maddock

Image © & courtesy of David Simkin Unidentified young man
by Richard Keene of Derby
Undated, but probably taken c. 1870

Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & courtesy of David Simkin

Nothing further is known about this photograph

Image © & courtesy of David Simkin

Image © & courtesy of Samantha Smith Unidentified man
by Richard Keene of Derby,
Undated, but probably taken in the early 1870s
Format: Carte de Visite
on Card printed by Marion Imp Paris

Image © & courtesy of Samantha Smith

Nothing further is known about this photograph

Image © & courtesy of Samantha Smith

Image © & courtesy of John Bradley Unidentified woman and child in doorway
by Richard Keene of Derby
Undated
Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & courtesy of John Bradley

Nothing further is known about this photograph

Image © & courtesy of John Bradley

Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library Officers of the 1st Corps, First Battalion of the Derbyshire Volunteers (1st Derbyshire Rifles): Lieutenant William Bemrose (1831-1908), Captain John Farmer Thirlby (c.1839-) & Lieutenant Henry Monkhouse (1837-1905).
by Richard Keene of Derby
Dated August 1874
Format: Cabinet card

Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library


Notes: Inscribed on the reverse, "1st Derby Rifles, Lieut. W. Bemrose, Capt. Thirlby, Lieut. Monkhouse, Taken Aug. 1874."  William Bemrose was a partner in the printing, publishing and stationery firm, Bemrose & Sons.  John F. Thirlby was a bank clerk and secretary of the Derby Gymnasium Club.  Henry Monkhouse was a chemist's assistant at the time this portrait was taken.  Another portrait of Monkhouse was taken at around this time by photographer James Brennen.
Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library

Image © & collection of Brett Payne Unidentified man
by Richard Keene of Derby,
Undated, but probably taken in the early to mid-1870s
Format: Carte de Visite
on Card printed by Marion Imp Paris
Size: Mount 62.5 x 103 mm Photo 61 x 95 mm
Negative No. 7631

Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Notes
Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Image © & collection of Brett Payne High Tor, Matlock, Derbyshire
by Richard Keene of Derby
Undated
Format: Carte de Visite
Size: Mount 62.5 x 102 mm Photo 58 x 97.5 mm

Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Notes: Inscribed on the reverse, "High Tor, Matlock, Derbyshire."
Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Image © & collection of Brett Payne
Unidentified woman
by R. Keene Junr. of Midland Studio, Siddals Road, Derby
Undated, but probably taken c. 1874-1876
Format: Carte de Visite
Size: Mount 64.5 x 105 mm Photo 63.5 x 95 mm

Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Nothing further is known about this photograph

Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Image © & collection of Brett Payne
Unidentified elderly man
by R. Keene Junr. of Midland Studio, Derwent Street, Derby
Undated, but probably taken c. 1877
Format: Carte de Visite
Size: Mount 64.5 x 103 mm Photo 62 x 95 mm

Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Nothing further is known about this photograph

Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Image © & collection of Brett Payne
Unidentified young child
by R. Keene Junr. of Midland Studio, Derwent Street, Derby
Undated, but probably taken c. 1877
Format: Carte de Visite
Size: Mount 65.5 x 103 mm Photo 61.5 x 96 mm
Negative No. 632

Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Notes:

Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Image © & collection of Brett Payne Unidentified young child
by R. Keene Junr. of Midland Studio, Derwent Street, Derby
Undated, but probably taken in the late 1870s
Format: Carte de Visite
Size: Mount 63 x 105 mm Photo 58 x 93 mm

Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Notes:
Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Image © & courtesy of Paul Clarke Unidentified young child
by R. Keene Junr. of 58 High Street, Burton-on-Trent
Undated, but probably taken c. 1878-1880
Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & courtesy of Paul Clarke


Notes: see Photo-Sleuth article
Image © & courtesy of Paul Clarke

Image © & courtesy of John Bradley Unidentified woman and child in greenhouse
by Richard Keene of Derby
Undated
Negative Number 3845
Format: Carte de Visite
on Card printed by Marion Imp Paris

Image © & courtesy of John Bradley

Nothing further is known about this photograph

Image © & courtesy of John Bradley

Image © & courtesy of John Bradley Unidentified family group
by Richard Keene of Derby
Undated
Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & courtesy of John Bradley

Nothing further is known about this photograph


Image © & courtesy of John Bradley Unidentified family group
by Richard Keene of Derby
Undated
Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & courtesy of John Bradley

Nothing further is known about this photograph


Image © & courtesy of Samantha Smith Unidentified young man
by Richard Keene of Derby,
Undated
Negative Number 9719
Format: Carte de Visite
on Card printed by Marion Imp Paris

Image © & courtesy of Samantha Smith

Nothing further is known about this photograph

Image © & courtesy of Samantha Smith

Image © & courtesy of Christine Hibbert Unidentified woman
by Richard Keene of Derby,
Undated
Negative Number 12260
Format: Carte de Visite
on Card printed by Marion Imp Paris

Image © & courtesy of Christine Hibbert

Nothing further is known about this photograph

Image © & courtesy of Christine Hibbert

Image © & courtesy of Martin Jackson Polly Radford
by Richard Keene of Derby
Undated
Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & courtesy of Martin Jackson

Notes: Inscribed "Polly Radford" on the reverse.


Image © & courtesy of Martin Jackson Unidentified child with doll
by Richard Keene of Derby
Undated
Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & courtesy of Martin Jackson

Nothing further is known about this photograph


Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library Sir Thomas Percival Heywood, 2nd Baronet (1823-1897)
by Richard Keene of Derby
Undated, but probably taken c. 1892
Format: Platinotype cabinet card

Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library

Notes: Inscribed "Platinotype by R. Keene, Derby, Sir T. Percival Heywood, Bart., Custos of Denstone College, From the Portrait by Professor Herkomer, R.A.Sir Thomas Percival Heywood, 2nd Baronet (1823-1897), after retiring from the banking business set up by his father, was a founder of Denstone College, in south Staffordshire, a Justice of the Peace, an officer in the Staffordshire Yeomanry in the Great War.  He was also the father of Sir Arthur Percival Heywood, 3rd Baronet (1849-1916) of Duffield.  Sir Hubert von Herkomer (1849-1914) became a full member of the Royal Academy in 1890.
Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library

Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin The children of John Dean of Wirksworth and Derby, draper
by Richard Keene of Derby
Undated, but taken c. 1892
Format: Carte de Visite
Size: Mount 108 x 165 mm Photo 100 x 151 mm

Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin

Notes by NA:
(at left) Emily Constance Dean, born 15 August 1884, died 28 October 1970
(at right) Alice Muriel Dean, born 16 March 1887, died 20 December 1977

Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin

Image © & courtesy of Samantha Smith Unidentified man
by Richard Keene Junior of 52 & 56 High Street, Burton-upon-Trent,
Undated, but probably taken between 1891 and 1899
Negative Number 3144
Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & courtesy of Samantha Smith

Design on reverse is a variety of Vaughan's "Bamboo and Fan", on card printed by A.A.C.

Image © & courtesy of Samantha Smith

Image © & courtesy of Martin Jackson Elizabeth Newbold Tipper (1874-)
by Richard Keene Junior of 52 High Street, Burton-upon-Trent
Undated, but probably taken in the late 1890s
Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & courtesy of Martin Jackson

Notes (MJ & BP): Elizabeth Newbold Tipper was born in 1874 at Hollington, Derbyshire (see Martin's web pages for further details).  She was a nurse in London and married a policeman Alfred Allen at Longford in 1902.

References
Images and information provided by Paul Clarke, Derby Local Studies Library, Nigel Aspdin, Cynthia Maddock, Brett Payne, John Bradley, Martin Jackson, David Simkin and Christine Hibbert
1851 Census of Derby - Courtesy of Geoff Mather
1881 UK Census - online from the LDS church
1841-1901 UK Census - online from Ancestry.com
1901 UK Census index - online from the PRO
FreeBMD
North East Midland Photographic Record - Picture the Past
Pigot (1835) Trade Directory of Derbyshire.
Bagshaw, Samuel (1846) History, Gazetteer and Directory of Derbyshire.
Slater (1850) Directory of Derbyshire.
Freebody (1852) Directory of Derbyshire. University of Leicester's Digital Library of Historical Directories
Anon (1855) Post Office Directory of Derby. University of Leicester's Digital Library of Historical Directories
White, Francis & Co. (1857) History, Gazetteer and Directory of the County of Derby. Transcribed by Neil Wilson.
Anon (1860) Harrison, Harrod, and Co.'s Directory and Gazetteer of Derbyshire, London.
Anon (1870) Harrod & Co.'s Postal & Commercial Directory of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland & Staffordshire. - from University of Leicester - Digital Library of Historical Directories.
Anon (1874) C.N. Wright's 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
Anon (1912) Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire 1912, Kelly's Directories Ltd., London.
Anon (1917) Chesterfield Year Book & Directory for 1917, Printed by The Derbyshire Courier, Chesterfield, Dec 1916 - by kind courtesy of Rita Effnert
Anon (1932) Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire 1932, Kelly's Directories Ltd., London.
Derby Mercury 10 May 1865, Extract courtesy of Clyde Dissington, The Magic Attic
Biography of Richard Keene - Derby UK Web Site
Lambeth Palace Library Photograph Collection
Victorian Photograph Card Printers & Marion Imp, Paris & London by Roger Vaughan
Craven, Maxwell (ed.)(1993) Keene's Derby, Breedon Books, Derby, pp. 200-202. - by kind courtesy of Sonia Addis-Smith and Geoff Mather

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