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William Collie Market Women.jpg

One of the earliest photographs printed on paper. William Collie's picture of Jersey market women taken in 1847

Photography arrived in Jersey in the 1840s and grew rapidly in popularity. A plethora of visiting and resident professional photographers cashed in on an enormous demand from a population growing in affluence to record their own images, and those of their families and properties, for posterity. In so doing they helped create a valuable record of an important period in the island's history.

The first postcard known to have been sent from Jersey - in 1895

French invention

It is generally acknowledged that the first permanent photograph was produced by Frenchman Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1826. He then collaborated with Louis Daguerre, to whom his notes passed when he (Niepce) died of a stroke in 1833. Daguerre announced the invention of his process called the daguerreotype in 1939, at the same time that Englishman Willam Fox Talbot was inventing the calotype process, which produced a photograph on paper.

Jersey was very quickly involved in both forms of photography. On 9 May 1840 the newspaper Chronique de Jersey announced that an exhibition would take place that day "at one o'clock precisely, at No. 3, Bond street, when the whole process of this invention will be developed, from the preparation of the silvered plate to the production of the picture thereon by the action of the rays of light only, and afterwards making it visible by submitting the plate to the fumes of mercury. A view of the Old Church will be taken. - Admittance, One Shilling British". This is believed to be the first demonstration of the daguerreotype in Jersey, although history does not record whether the view of the "Old Church" was successfully taken and whether it survived. It is also not known how many attended the demonstration, but the charge of 'One Shilling British' would have been beyond the means of all but the more affluent islanders.

Itinerant photographers

It was not long before itinerant French photographers were active with their daguerreotype cameras in Jersey. The first was a Monsieur Roemhild, who was in the island in 1842, working from St Saviour's Road, and again three years later in Belmont Road.

Alfred Barber was in Jersey between September 1843 and September 1844 based at Lozey's Hotel de Paris. Others of his countrymen who visited the island professionally in the first decade of daguerreotype photography were Le Feuvre (1846), Roze (1848) and Bouillards (1850).

One of the first Jerseymen to experiment with photography was the famous artist Philip Ouless, who took daguerreotypes in 1845 and 1846 and then went into business with his son, Clarence, who was active in New Street from 1871 to 1914.

From the collection of La Société Jersiaise, a daguerreotype picture believed to have been taken by Jersey artist Philip John Ouless in about 1845. It has been suggested that it may be a self-portrait but it cannot be, because Ouless was 28 years old at the time and all portraits of him show him as thin in the face.

William Collie

One of the first photographers to use Fox Talbot's calotype process in Jersey was William Collie. Some of his previously unpublished photographs featured alongside those of Fox Talbot,among others, in an exhibition at the Musée Dorsay in Paris in 2008 of the first photographs taken on paper in Britain from 1840 to 1860. Collie was born in Scotland in 1810 and was in business in Jersey in Belmont Road and Bath Street from before 1850 until 1878. A picture of Market Women in St Helier taken in 1847 and printed on salted paper survives in a private collection.

Thomas Sutton

At the same time as Collie first came to Jersey, Thomas Sutton was setting up his photographic studio in St Brelade's Bay, after leaving Cambridge University in 1846. Sutton was one of the pioneers of photography. He took the world's first colour photograph, invented a panoramic camera and also the single lens reflex camera, whose basic design persists in the top quality amateur and professional cameras of the 21st century.

Société collection

La Société Jersiaise has an extensive collection of over 60,000 photographs by prominent local photographers dating from the mid 1840s to the present day and is the principal Jersey collection of nineteenth and early twentieth century photography. Over half of these images can be viewed on line. The archive can be searched by subject, photographer, names and places, or by a random text reference.

The subjects represented in the collection are as diverse as the multitude of formats and processes within which they are formed. Examples range from the earliest daguerreotypes and calotypes through the Collodion, Albumen and Gelatin process advancements of the Victorian era. Interspersed with the most prevalent processes, are the many variant techniques conceived, adopted and abandoned throughout the growth and maturity of the medium leading to the present day.

Cartes de visite

Photographic portraits on a card backing, known as Cartes de Visite (visiting cards with photographic images about 6cm x 9cm) became enormously popular in Jersey in Victoria times and many photographic studios opened to provide this service, and individual and family portraits of larger sizes. At last people who could not afford to have paintings created could enjoy the benefits of the craze for photography. Thousands of these photographs still exist in albums, boxes, envelopes and drawers and are a major aide to those researching their family history. Sadly, far too high a proportion of these family treasures are handed down a generation with no notes to identify them and are eventually thrown away. Even if a name is written on the back, without a date it is sometimes impossible to tie in a photograph with a particular family member.

A picture of St Helier Harbour in 1895 by an unknown photographer. This was one of the first postcards of Jersey

Sometimes knowing the photographer - usually printed on the back of the photograph - can help in pinpointing the time when the picture was taken, and there are experts in clothing style and other factors who can help date photographs.

It is beyond the scope of this article, at this time, to list dates for sequences of negative numbers for particular photographers, but Jerripedia's comprehensive list of over 140 photographers who were active in Jersey from 1840 onwards, together with the addresses they operated from within certain dates should help identify the approximate date when many of their photographs were taken.

Jerripedia users are invited to provide information to expand this section, either with the names of photographers not yet on our list, or by providing more detailed information about their lives and their photographs.


Another form of photographs of inestimable value to the historian is the postcard. Many of the photographs from the late Victorian era and the early part of the 20th century which survive today were printed as postcards. They are very collectible items and many suppliers have catalogue listings on line.

A photograph of women in the fish market by Samuel Poulton, a society portraitist from London known to have worked in Jersey in the 1850s and '60s

Prominent photographers

These are some of the most influential photographers in Jersey in the early days of photography:

Further articles


This family portrait was taken by Eureka Photographic, which was in business from 1899 to 1903. It started at 25 Royal Parade in 1899, moving later in the year to 1 New Town Buildings David Place. It was a family business, run by L Stein and S M Stein
A striking 1880s portrait of a young woman by Tynan Brothers. As can be seen further down this page, portraits at this time were invariably very formal, and an artistic study such as this is rarely found
An informal portrait of an attractive young Victorian lady by Baudoux
The Esplanade photographed by Edwin Dale
A Laurens was a very popular portraitist in the first half of the 20th century. His studio was at 6 York Street from 1899 to 1946
The Harbour by Edwin Dale
The wedding of an unknown soldier returned from fighting in the Second Boer War, photographed by A Laurens
A portrait of a very smart family by T Price
Three sisters photographed by Tynan Brothers

Paul Augustus Martin

Six photographs taken in Jersey in 1893 by the renowned French photographer Paul Augustus Martin

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