Early Norfolk Photographs
1840 - 1860
Jean-Gabriel Eynard Photographer

Jean-Gabriel Eynard
Self-portrait with Daguerreotype of Roman Forum: taken in Paris
Daguerreotype, ¼ plate, circa 1853
[J. Paul Getty Museum]
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Jean-Gabriel Eynard (1775–1863)

Banker, co-founder National Bank of Greece,
Daguerreotypist and photographer

Jean-Gabriel Eynard1 started work in Genoa and became rich as a merchant and expert financier acting as a private adviser to the Queen of Etruria and the Grand Duchess of Toscana. In 1814, he entered Geneva’s militia as a reserve officer, with the rank of lieutenant colonel. Being a friend of Ioannis Kapodistrias, (later the first Head of State of the newly liberated Greece), he was very enthusiastic for the cause of the Greeks during the Greek War of Independence. Eynard was the chief of the philhellens community in Europe and gave financial advice to the new state. In 1842, he became one of the co-founders of the National Bank of Greece2.

The Norwich banker Joseph John Gurney was a Quaker who was active in Bible Society work, prison reform and the anti-slavery movement. In 1843 he went to France with his sister Elizabeth Fry, her daughter Katharine and Josiah Forster, a fellow Quaker; in Paris they were joined by Joseph John’s son John Henry and daughter Anna (later Backhouse). At a meeting of the French and Foreign Bible Society he met Eynard and a friendship developed. On 15th May, Gurney recorded in his journal3: ‘Called on the Eynards shorty after breakfast, when he took daguerreotype drawings of our family group.’

Special Collections at Haverford College Library, Philadelphia has in its collection a badly edge- corroded Daguerreotype showing Joseph John Gurney, his wife, son and daughter. Another image – of the larger family group – is much more informative [see Gallery]. Such photographic portraits of Norfolk residents taken in the early 1840s are very rare.

Sources and Notes

  1. Also known as Eynard-Lullin.
  2. City of Geneva website.
  3. Extracts from the letters, journals &c of Joseph John Gurney, &c, edited by Eliza Paul Gurney, privately printed for the family, 1848.
I am happy to acknowledge that this entry would not have been possible without the research made by Ann Farrant during the writing of her biography of Amelia Opie, friend of the Gurney family.