Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

From time to time, I am asked by people to help identify photographs, even by finding a general date range. I am happy to do this when possible, although I cannot stress enough that I am not an expert and am simply sharing my general knowledge based on the research I do for this site. Recently I was contacted by site reader Jim Earl, who has a number of British CDVs and cabinet cards that pose a mystery to him. They are from his family’s photograph albums, but as with so many old photos, they were not identified at the time and now the subject names have been lost to the ages. But, because Jim’s photos are wonderful, I asked for, and he granted, permission to post them here for other reader input if any is to be had.

J Earl Beard

Quite a beard!

J Earl 1

Photographic artists Sandry & Burrow

Not much could be found on the photographer, Sandry and Burrow, except to expand the names as William James Sandry & Burrow. Sandry appears to have had a variety of partners and locations. The photo itself is a CDV of a gentleman who initially looks to be from the 1840s or 1850s to me. The squared corners of the card tell us this is most likely an 1860s image, and is possibly a reprint of a daguerrotype.

A woman and boy

A woman and boy

Another CDV made of a woman and boy, I am assuming a mother and son. Her dress is more characteristic of the 1870s, but his suit of clothes is suggestive of the 1860s. Another mystery photographer, A. Lloyd Beard from Cardiff. He made plenty of photos which are currently selling on sites like eBay, but no one seems to know when he was in business. I’m guessing at the late 1860s on this one.

Definitely 1860s here

Definitely 1860s here

This lovely image is definitely from the 1860s based on the wide hooped skirts of mother and child. The mother’s dress features a “false vest” style, which was a high-fashion look. The child has several rows of growth tucks and trim on her skirt. No photographer information was found on the photo.

J Earl Purple Bow

Fabulous hand painting

J Earl 2

Well, here is William James Sandry again!

Based on the hairstyle and dress, I’m putting this image into the 1870s. Clothing styles and hairstyles changed drastically between the 1860s and 1870s. Skirts were not the full bell shape over cage crinolines, but instead smooth fronted and draped to the rear end, in the early bustle look. Pads and small pillows were added under the skirt to emphasize the lady’s backside. Hairstyles no longer accented a nice wide face, but instead added height and angularity. This lady shows us her lovely purple tie – hand painted by the photographer – and even has rather large earrings. Her bodice is called a basque waist as it lays overtop of the skirt in a separate piece, rather than the two pieces being sewn together into one dress. The photographers were William James Sandry and E. Sandry this time.

Family time

Family time

J Earl

Howard Nicholls, photographer

This photograph is a cabinet card, turned into the landscape orientation to capture the entire family. As was common, the photograph was made out of doors so natural light could be used for the best exposure. I’d put this image in the late 1880s or very early 1890s based on the sleeve shapes of the women’s dresses. These are possibly Pascoe family members of the Cornwall Pascoes, who sailed to the US in 1856 to settle in Michigan and later Kansas in the 1870s. Jim says the family kept in touch, and clearly some of these images predate the settlement in Kansas. Others may be family who exchanged photos during the Michigan settlement. I found nothing at all on the photographer Howard Nicholls of Redruth.

While I’m afraid I did  not find anything more detailed about the photographers, such as dates of operation, I am hopeful that the general dates based on clothing are helpful for Jim. Sometimes, that is all it takes, knowing certain people are included or excluded based on the photo date. Good luck, Jim, in your search for answers to the family photographic mysteries!




8 thoughts on “Family ties and mysteries

  1. IntenseGuy says:

    The A Lloyd Beard photo was probably later than you expect.

    Alfred Lloyd Beard was born in 1843 according to the 1871 England, Wales & Scotland Census.

    “Alfred Lloyd Beard eagerly shifted to Jacquier’s former studio in Angel Street following Jacquier’s bankruptcy but then moved on to Jenks’ old Bute Street premises. Finally, in 1871, he opened a prestigious establishment in the Royal Arcade from which he operated until 1885.”

    Source – http://welshjournals.llgc.org.uk/browse/viewpage/llgc-id:1277425/llgc-id:1290140/llgc-id:1290218/getText


  2. IntenseGuy says:

    Redruth and Camborne are but three miles apart.

    A Howard Nicholls was born in 1860 and lived in Redruth in 1894. His wife died in 1930.

    http://dustydocs.com/link/6/25326/150919/1871-census-cornwall-online-census-project.html (Folio 43 Page 28) You dating of his photo seems to be right.


  3. IntenseGuy says:

    William James Sandry (b. 1843 – d. 1905) had a brother, Edwin Sandry (b. 1854 – d. 2 Sep 1918). He worked with John Charles Burrow. Camborne. Born at Truro 11 March 1852, died 28 October 1914.

    Click to access Sandry_chart.pdf

    A biographical sketch of these two photographers can be found here:



    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      You never cease to amaze me!


  4. I always learn so much from your descriptions! I agreed with all except the first which I could never have guessed!


  5. Great dating some photos are really hard…I like your descriptions:)


  6. Jim Earl says:

    Thanks so much for the help! I have many more to submit, and will later.


  7. Debra says:

    Yes, quite the beard but what’s with that hair??? I’ve never seen hair piled on a man’s head like that before.


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