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Old Photographs - Cambridgeshire Photographers - BLANCHARD, Valentine Louis

Photographers are listed alphabetically by surname on the following pages.

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Name: BLANCHARD, Valentine Louis, also known as BLANCHARD, Valentine Jnr       b: 1859 Kings Lynn, Norfolk      d: c.1900 Johannesburg South Africa
Address: Lynn Road Wisbech, Post Office Terrace Cambridge,
Subjects, styles, advertising, other relevant information:

This entry for Valentine Blanchard is difficult to write, because there were two Valentine Blanchards, related to each other, both photographers and both with Cambridgeshire connections. It is difficult to tease apart and accurately attribute some of the historic traces which we can find today, which could have related to either of them. Valentine Blanchard was a talented photographer, having his work accepted for the prestigious Annual Exhibition of the Photographic Society (now the RPS) in 1885. We can trace changes of personal circumstances, changes of location, changes of profession, an early death in a foreign land, and yet the underlying narrative of his life remains something of a mystery.

The story starts with a third Valentine Blanchard (for the sake of simplicity we will call him Valentine Blanchard Snr), a solicitor’s clerk, born in Cambridgeshire in 1786 and his wife Lucy b: 1796. Amongst their children were two brothers, Ainscough Blanchard, b: 1826 at Horncastle Lincolnshire and Valentine Blanchard b: 1831, at Wisbech St Peter, Cambridgeshire. Ainscough Blanchard married Sarah b: 1824 Kings Lynn and amongst their children was Valentine Louis Blanchard b: 1859 at Kings Lynn. Valentine b: 1831 and his nephew Valentine Louis b: 1859 both became photographers, the older of the two originating in Wisbech and becoming the more famous and successful; the younger less well known having the closer connection with Cambridge.

In the 1861 census, at Norfolk Street, Kings Lynn, Ainscough Blanchard, was a grocer, and Valentine Louise Blanchard was his youngest child, aged 1 year. In April 1871, at Norfolk Street, Kings Lynn, Ainscough Blanchard, Valentine’s brother, was still a grocer, and his son Valentine Louise Blanchard was an 11 year old scholar.

In 1881 Valentine Louis Blanchard was still living with his family at Norfolk Street, Kings Lynn. His father was still in the grocery business; now 21 years old, Valentine Louis was by this time a photographer. We don’t know, but it is possible that Valentine may have learned his photographic skills from his uncle, of the same name, who was already a famous and very experienced professional photographer in London. (Another nephew was living with the uncle and working as a photographer’s assistant in the 1871 census) 

By 1883 Valentine had set up a studio in Lynn Road Wisbech. (This studio was later to be taken over by John Hinley, then Alfred Drysdale. Lilian Ream started her photographic career as a young pupil of Alfred Drysdale. The studio was later taken over by Hardingham Mehew and Leonard Smith. Around 1909 Lilian Ream took over the Studio and Mr Smith became the assistant.)

Valentine continued to practice in Wisbech at least until 1885 when the Cambridge Independent Press (25 Apr 1885 P7) reported:

Valentine Blanchard v. Charles Day, innkeeper, Walsoken — This case, in which the plaintiff was a photographic artist, of Wisbech, was adjourned from the last court. It was a claim of £7 7s for photographic materials supplied to the defendant (formerly drill instructor to the volunteers), who was contemplating engaging in the business. — Objection was made to many of the items, which defendant contended were paid, and he also made a counter-claim. Mr Carrick asked for the matter to be referred to some competent photographer to decide what was due to the plaintiff. Mr Ollard objected, no counter claim had been made. His Honor said if there was a bona fide counter claim, the matter had better be referred. Mr, Carrick said there was a bona fide counter claim. It was ultimately agreed to refer all matters in dispute to Mr. Kennerell who will give a certificate of his award at the next court.

“Mr Kennerell” was Wisbech photographer John Kennerell who features elsewhere on this site.  What was meant by Charles Day “contemplating engaging in the business”? Was he simply contemplating taking up photography, or contemplating involvement in Valentine Louis Blanchard’s business?

The image below is a carte de visite of an unknown gentleman, taken by Valentine Louis Blanchard between 1883-5, while at Wisbech. The mount was made by Marion of Paris. On the reverse of the mount Valentine has used the Royal Coat of Arms, without any explanation or claim to Royal patronage.

Valentine Blanchard carte de visite, 1880s

By November 1885 Valentine had taken over the studio at Post Office Terrace in Cambridge previously run by John Edward BLISS. That was shown as his address in the catalogue of photographs exhibited by the Photographic Society at their 1885 annual exhibition. Valentine was shown as ”Blanchard V. Jnr” no doubt to distinguish him from his older uncle of the same name, who had been a member of the Society’s Council and regular exhibitor. Valentine had three photographs accepted for exhibition “Edith, bust of a young lady”, “Dr JW Groom” and “Italian Boy”.

The Post Office Terrace studio was leased to Valentine by Jesus College who in turn either owned the premises or occupied them by arrangement with Christ's College. In a letter dated 20 Dec 1886 R Reynolds Rowe, a Cambridge architect employed by Jesus College, wrote to the college authorities about an estimate for £69 from Seymour, a Cambridge builder, to construct a "show shop in the front of the premises" which had been requested by Valentine. The estimate spoke of constructing a shop front glazed with stout sheet glass, fixing a show board and inside sashes to the windows. The architect urged the College authorities to have this work done as it would be difficult to find another tenant should he give up the premises. On 13th Jan 1887 the Architect wrote again to the Bursar of Jesus College updating him on arrangements for ensuring that Valentine and his customers had a right of way to the studio from St Andrew's Street. In this letter he stated "Mr Blanchard cannot be called upon to pay an increased rent : the rent is high at present; the two last tenants lost money there". By February 1887 Valentine Blanchard had invested heavily in the Cambridge Studio as he installed electric lighting. Electric lighting having been used in this way only since around 1877, this put him technologically ahead of most other provincial studios at the time. He advertised in the Cambridge Independent Press 19 Feb 1887 p4.

ELECTRIC LIGHT AND DAYLIGHT PHOTOGRAPHIC ART STUDIOS. VALENTINE BLANCHARD, POST OFFICE TERRACE, CAMBRIDGE.
Portraits taken from 9 am until 9 pm and later by arrangement.
It having been frequently expressed by a number of the Gentry of Cambridge and District that thoroughly reliable means of photographing at any time of the day or night would be well received and appreciated by the public. Mr. Valentine Blanchard has installed powerful ELECTRIC LIGHTING MACHINERY, that being the only means of producing light for Photography equal to daylight. The installation is arranged on the most improved and scientific principles, and is considered the most perfect in England, capable of producing light equal to 80,000 candles. By special arrangement, a beautiful soft light (WHICH HAS NO TRYING EFFECT UPON THE EYES) is diffused upon the sitter, and every variety of artistic effect in light and shade can be produced, the electric light being so much more under individual control than daylight. Portraits superior to anything before produced in Cambridge will be obtained. Ladies desirous of being photographed in Evening Dress will find the Electric Light Studio of great convenience. Particular and personal attention is given by Mr VALENTINE BLANCHARD to the artistic lighting and posing of sitters. Appointments should be made when possible. Private Lessons given in Photography, CASH Prices for Portraits taken by the Valentine Blanchard Light: CARTE DE VISITE PORTRAITS. 6 copies(Vignettes) 8s. 6d. 12 copies 12s. 6d. 25 copies 21s.  CABINET PORTRAITS. 6 Copies (Vignettes): 15s. 12 copies £1 8s. 25 copies £2 10s. Portraits of other Styles and Sizes at Reasonable Prices. Children’s Portraits taken Instantaneously.

The newspaper responded with a report the following week (Cambridge Independent Press 26 Feb 1887 p5). “The opening of an electric light studio for photographic purposes by Mr Valentine Blanchard is an event which has excited a great deal of popular attention. We have had the opportunity of inspecting the installation, and find it to be very complete in every respect. We learn that during the few weeks it has been at work, it has been attended with remarkable success. The entrance to the studio in Alexandra Passage is fitted up with an arc lamp of about 10,000 candle power, which brilliantly lights the entrance, and indeed the whole neighbourhood for a considerable radius. The reception and dressing rooms are brilliantly lighted with Swan incandescent lamps, giving a cheerful and pleasing appearance, and showing the numerous specimens off to advantage. The Studio is also fitted with four Swan Incandescent lamps, each of 32 candle power, which are used during posing focusing etc., so that the arc lamp which gives a light equal from 30,000 - 40,000 candles is only used when the sitter is being photographed. The development of the negative is carried on by the light of a Swan Incandescent lamp of 18 candle power, suitably screened by ruby fabric.  The dynamo is worked by one of Crossley's well known gas engines. Mr. Blanchard finds the six horsepower sufficient to work all the lamps at one time.”

In June 1887 the Cambridge Independent Press reported that Valentine took photographs of the staff of the Cambridge Post Office while they were celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee. (Cambridge Independent Press 25 June 1887). Below is an early cabinet photograph by Valentine before he went into partnership with Lunn. The mount is glossy black card with gilt lettering depicting a young man with centre parting.

Shortly after opening the Cambridge studio, Valentine traded there in partnership with William Henry LUNN as "Valentine Blanchard and Lunn". At some point the firm also operated from an address at 28 Hills Road Cambridge - this appears on some of their cartes de visite. Business in Cambridge appeared strong and in 1889 the partners placed numerous regular advertisements in the Cambridge Daily News from January to September advertising a "New Photographic Studio, designed on the latest and most scientific principles for the production of high-class portraits, opened as a branch business at 15 Hills Road, by Messrs Valentine Blanchard and Lunn the well known photographers of Post Office Terrace".

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Despite the investment in and apparent success of the business, the partnership broke up on 1st October 1889 by mutual consent, with William Henry Lunn continuing the business alone. After the partnership was dissolved  William Henry Lunn advertised the business in his own name in the following terms.
Electric Light and Daylight Studios, Post Office Terrace, Cambridge. Mr W H LUNN begs to thank the Members of the University and Residents of Cambridge for their kind support and patronage during the past year. Having introduced skilled Assistants and made considerable improvements to the Establishment, purposes (sic) carrying on the Business as usual, which will in no way be affected by the Dissolution of Partnership. Proofs of high class artistic portraits will be submitted within a week of the sitting. Special and careful attention given to the Photographing of Gentlemen's Booms. 12 x 10 Groups taken Town or County. Agent for Ross's, Dallmeyer’s, and Beck’s Photographic Lenses (Cambridge Independent Press 9 Nov 1889 p1)

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Does the introduction of “skilled assistants” into the business imply that perhaps William Henry Lunn was not a skilled photographer in his own right? He was certainly a photographer as in 1889 William Henry Lunn submitted to Stationers' Hall for copyright purposes two photographs he had taken, both described as "Photograph of a flash of lightning at Cambridge taken during the terrific storm of June 6 July 1889". The copyright owner and author of work was shown as William Henry Lunn, 3 Bridge Street, Cambridge. Form completed 13 June 1889. (TNA Copy 1/396/309 and 310). In the 1871 census there was a William Henry Lunn (b.1860 at Newport Essex, the son of Colin Lunn b.1825 Sydenham Kent) living with his parents at 3 Bridge St Cambridge. He was at the same address in the 1881 census, listed as having no occupation. No trace of William Henry Lunn has been found after 1889, but after 1889 the Post Office Terrace Studio was run by Colin Lunn, who in 1891 was living at 30 New Square Cambridge, a photographer, and his date and place of birth was also shown as 1860 at Newport Essex. No record earlier than 1890 has yet been found of Colin Lunn. It seems likely that William Henry and Colin Lunn Jnr were related in some way, especially as William Henry's father, Colin Lunn Senior, was a witness at Colin Jnr's wedding and later appointed him as his executor. By 1901 Colin Lunn Jnr had moved to Oxford where he was no longer a photographer, but a  tobacconist, and was living with his wife Rose (b:1866 Sawbridgeworth Hertfordshire), and daughters Elsie Winifred (b:1892 Cambridge) and Phyllis Audrey (b:1893 Cambridge).

In 1889 Valentine’s personal circumstances changed dramatically, which probably precipitated a change of direction. In 1889, 30 year old Valentine Louis Blanchard married 17 year old Laura Louise Favell b: 1872 Cambridge, the daughter of George P Favell, an accountant collector, and his wife Elizabeth S Favell, who lived at 88 Castle Street Cambridge. On 12 September 1889 Valentine’s and Laura’s first child, Vera Gladys Blanchard, was born in Cambridge, the birth being registered at Brixton, South London.

In 1890 it would appear that Valentine Blanchard was operating as a photographer in Bradford. After a fire at his premises he was keen to recover from his loss – possibly too keen. The Leeds Mercury of 12 June 1890 reporting on a dispute concerning an insurance claim Valentine Blanchard "artist and photographer of Bradford" had made against the Sun Fire Office following a fire.

A DISPUTED AWARD.

In the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court of Justice yesterday, the Lord Chief Justice and Mr Justice Wills, sitting as a Divisional Court, had before them a motion in the matter of an arbitration between Mr Valentine Blanchard, artist and photographer, of Bradford, and the Sun Fire Office. Mr Cohen QC (with whom was Mr. Woodhill). said he appeared on behalf of the Sun Office to move for the setting aside of the award of one of the arbitrators, Mr JT Bullough, auctioneer and valuer, of Bradford, on the ground that he was disqualified from acting as such.

The case-was one of a remarkable character. Mr Blanchard had insured against fire in the Sun Office for £1,200, and a fire occurring, disputes arose as to the claim, the result being that arbitrators were appointed, Mr Bullough being appointed by Blanchard, and Mr. Ingham Leyroyd, of Halifax, by the Sun Office. The two arbitrators selected Mr Donald MacIver, photographic artist, of Leeds, to officiate as umpire. The arbitrators disagreed, and the umpire made an award, which Mr. Bullough's solicitors at once claimed, it appearing that Blanchard had assigned all his interests in the award to Bullough, after the latter's appointment as arbitrator and without the knowledge of the Sun Office. Mr LANE, QC, who represented the claimant, said the award was entirely that of the umpire, he being uninfluenced by either Bullough or Blanchard. Their Lordships held that under the circumstances the award could not be sustained, Mr Justice Wills declaring that it would be a shame and a discredit to any court of law which hesitated for a moment to set aside such an award.

According to the census, Valentine Louis Blanchard, artist and photographer, was still in Yorkshire, living at 16 Claremont, Horton, in 1891, with his wife Laura Louise. Their daughter, Vera Gladys, was with her grand-parents at 88 Castle Street Cambridge.

A second daughter, Florence, was born 7 September 1891 and baptised at St Mary’s Church Johannesburg, South Africa on 21 September 1891. The baptism record states “privately reptd when dying” suggesting that poor little Florence didn’t survive long after birth. The family must have travelled to South Africa between April and September 1891, although no trace of this has been found in ships' logs recorded on ancestry.com. South Africa was not then the most peaceful and settled country, Mrs Blanchard was pregnant and their daughter was very young. This must have been something of a bold, even desperate move for them.

Strangely the record of little Florence’s baptism in Sept 1891 shows Valentine’s occupation as “surgeon”. The family remained in South Africa for some time. In 1893, their third daughter, Irene Blanchard, was born – in Pietersburg in the Transvaal. In 1897 the couple had a fourth child, Valentine Louis Heath Blanchard, b: 1 July 1897 and christened at St Mary’s Church Johannesburg on 27 December 1898. The christening record shows the father’s occupation as “Doctor of Medicine”. The child’s sponsors at the Christening were listed as: Edmund Thomas Ernest Hamilton, Gottfried Heinrich Amandus Brakhan, sister Kate and the mother”.

So, in England in April 1891 Valentine’s occupation was given as “artist and photographer”, in Sept 1891 in South Africa as “surgeon” and in December 1898 he was a “Dr of Medicine”. There were, at this time, around 650-700 doctors in South Africa and there was much debate about the formation of local professional medical bodies to oversee the profession. However, the British Medical Association was at this point still the overseeing body, and there is no trace of Valentine Louis Blanchard in the BMA UK Medical Registers. Was he some sort of fraud or quack doctor or did he train between 1891 and 1898 and not register with the BMA?

At some point between 1898 and 1901 Valentine Louis Blanchard died in Johannesburg South Africa. In 1901 his wife had returned to England and was at 61 Castledown Road, Fulham, a widow, living from her own means. The two surviving daughters, Gladys aged 11 and Irene aged 8, were boarders at a ladies school in Waterloo Road, Birkdale, Lancashire, run by Misses Hobbs and Morris. There is no trace in the UK census returns of Valentine Louis Heath Blanchard. In 1907 Laura Blanchard re-married – to a wealthy German Company Director, Gottfried Heinrich Amandus Brakhan of Johannesburg of the mine financing house, Union Corporation Ltd (God-father to her son Valentine Louis Heath Blanchard), and in 1911 was living with him and her two daughters, Gladys and Irene, in Sevenoaks, Kent; their domestic requirements met by no fewer than six servants. The family’s South African connection continued as Irene Blanchard died from pneumonia following influenza aged 24 in November 1918 in Johannesburg. At that point her mother was living at 6 Montague Mansions, Portman Square, London. (South African Commercial Advertiser 16 Nov 1918)

Below is a cabinet photograph of a young lady with a locket and brooch, with what glossy black mount and gilt lettering, which is thought to be the earliest mount used by Valentine Blanchard after he took over the studio at Post Office Terrace Cambridge. The reverse is blank. (Michael Brown Collection). Below this is a carte de visite vignette of a young man. The mount is black card with impressed gilt lettering on the face "Valentine Blanchard Electric Light and Daylight Studios Post Office Terrace Cambridge". The reverse of the mount is blank. This dates from 1887-9. Below this is very similarly mounted carte de visite, but the mount has the firm's name changed to "Valentine Blanchard and Lunn", although impressed on the actual image is "Valentine Blanchard Cambridge". The reverse is blank, but a negative number 3202 is written on it in pencil. This dates from around 1889.

Below is a carte de visite of a young lady, vignette style on grey card, rounded corners, reverse carries a crown design and states “Electric Light and Daylight Studios Valentine Blanchard & Lunn Post Office Terrace and 28 Hills Road Cambridge”, no negative number shown. The face of the CDV has impressed “V. Blanchard & Lunn Cambridge” and printed on the bottom ”Electric Light and daylight studios Valentine Blanchard and Lunn Post Office Terrace and 28 Hills Road Cambridge”. The third example below is by Valentine Blanchard and Lunn, glossy black mouint with gilt lettering. Interestingly this is a copy photograph of an earlier image of a man in beret ,high collar and a satin finished suit. Unusually it has been rubber stamped in red to say "copied from an old photograph".

For more on Post Office Terrace Studio and negatives from the studio www.fadingimages.uk/POT1.asp

References:
Mike Petty, The Photographers, (a handlist of local photographers), Cambridge, Cambridgeshire Collection, 1992
Kellys Directory of Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, Kelly and Co London April 1883
Spaldings  Directory of Cambridge 1887
Kellys Directory of Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, Kelly and Co London April 1888
Mike Petty, An Eye on the Past, Cambridge Weekly News, 25/2/1992, 14/2/1991 and 25/2/1992
The Cambridge Photographers at Post Office Terrace, MJ Petty Cambridge No 29, Winter 1991-2
Cambridgeshire Collection’s Carte de Visite Collection c.65.5 has 1 carte de visite from Valentine BLANCHARD and two from VALENTINE BLANCHARD & LUNN
Photo London has a detailed biography http://www.photolondon.org.uk/pages/details.asp?pid=743
London Gazette p5682 25th October 1889
See also this site for Valentine Blanchard – uncle to Valentine Louis Blanchard.

Early example of Valentine Blanchard's work after he took ovber the Post Office terrace Studio Cambridge

Valentine Blanchard cabinet photograph

Valentine Blanchard and Lunn carte de visite

Carte de visite Valentine Blanchard and LunnReverse of Valentine Blanchard and Lunn carte

Valentine Blanchard and Lunn cabinet photograph

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Photographers are listed alphabetically by surname on the following pages.

0 - 9 | Aa-Ak | Al-Ao | Ap-As | At-Az | Ba-Bak | Bal-Bam | Ban-Bd | Be-Bh | Bi-Bk | Bl-Bn | Bo-Bp | Br-Bt | Bu-Bz | Ca-Ck | Cl-Cn | Coa-Cor | Cos-Cz | Da-Dh | Di-Dq | Dr-Dz | Ea-Ec | Ed-Ez | Fa-Fh | Fi-Fz | Ga-Gd | Ge-Gq | Gr-Gz | Ha-Hd | He-Hh | Hi-Hn | Ho-Hz | I | Ja-Je | Jf-Jz | K | La-Ld | Le-Ln | Lo-Lz | Maa-Mad | Mae-Mar | Mas-Mb | Mc-Mi | Mj-Mz | Na-Nh | Ni-Nn | No-Nz | O | Pa-Pb | Pc-Ph | Pi-Po | Pr-Pz | Q | Ra-Rd | Re-Rh | Ri-Rz | Sa-Sb | Sc-Sf | Sg-Sk | Sla-Slz | Sma-Ss | Sta-Std | Ste-Sth | Sti-Sy | Ta-Te | Tf-Ti | Tj-Tz | U | V | Wa-We | Wf-Wh | Wi-Wz | XYZ