Early Norfolk Photographs
1840 - 1860
John Blowers Photographer
possibly Thomas_ Blowers photographer John Blowers
Salted paper print, November 1845
Calotype by Blowers: Printed by Thomas Eaton
[Norfolk County Council Library and Information Service]

arrow gallery link John Blowers (1799-1883)

 Land agent, photographer and member of Norwich Photographic Society.

Blowers was listed1 variously as Steward or Land Agent to Lord Stafford, of the Jerningham family, who lived at Costessey Hall, just west of Norwich. In the early 19th century this vast, gothic folly, otherwise known as Cossey Hall, was built on the south side of the river Tud, which ran through Stafford’s 3000 acre estate.

Blowers was one of the earliest Norfolk photographers and evidence for this can be seen in Thomas Eaton’s album, ‘Camera Sketches’2. The album contains two photographs by Blowers, dated 1846.

The Journal of the Photographic Society occasionally published minutes of the Norwich Photographic Society which records in June 1856 that Mr. Blowers not only showed some excellent photographs but also exhibited ‘ … a slide, by which he was enabled to take a large number of pictures on paper without removing the slide.’

Blowers contributed four photographs to the 1856 exhibition3 of the Norwich Photographic Society.

  Subject Negative
333.1 Cossey Hall [probably Calotype]
333.2 Chimneys, Cossey Hall [probably Calotype]
333.3 Cossey Cottage [probably Calotype]
333.4 At Halesworth, printed ten years ago [Calotype]

Examples of his work, salted paper prints from paper negatives can be seen in the Gallery. Some are very faded copies so do allow your eyes to adjust…

The author has found but one other documentary reference4 to John Blowers.

Sources and Notes

  1. Hunt’s Directory, 1850, lists Blowers as a Land Agent to Lord Stafford. 
    The 1851 Census lists Blowers as Steward, Cossey Hall.
    Melville’s Directory lists Blowers as Land Agent at Cossey Hall.
  2. In the collection of the Norfolk County Council Library and Information Service.
  3. Listed in the exhibition catalogue.
  4. A document in the Eaton Collection held at the Norfolk Record Office refers to a letter about ‘Bromized Collodion’ sent in 1853 from Mr. Berry of Liverpool to Mr. Blowers.