Early Norfolk Photographs
1840 - 1860
William Boswell Jnr. Photographer
William Boswell Jnr. (1840 - 1889)
Ironmonger and photographer

William Jnr’s father, William Boswell, founded a frame making, picture dealing and picture restoring business in Magdalen Street, Norwich. Residing at No. 26 Magdalen Street was his nearest competitor John Thirtle1, the water-colour artist and founder member of the Norwich School of Artists. When Thirtle died in 1839, William Boswell Snr. acquired his business and, by 1851, employed seven men.

In 1855, the Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Promotion of Fine Arts included photographs in its exhibition.  Four were by George Fitt, ten by Robert Harmer and four by William Boswell, Jun., who was just 15 years old.

At sometime just before 1860, William Boswell Jnr. opened a photographic studio in Magdalen Street and employed two boys. He became a business partner2 with his father by 1864. Little is known of William Boswell Jnr.’s business but he moved in artistic society as the carte-de-visite illustration of John Berney Ladbrooke, artist and drawing master in the Gallery demonstrates. Sometime before 1871 he married Ellen and they moved to Dartford in Kent, where he became an ironmonger.

Sources and Notes

  1. Allthorpe-Guyton, Marjorie. John Thirtle 1777-1839. Drawings in Norwich Castle Museum. Norwich: Norfolk Museum Services, 1977.
  2. National Portrait Gallery. www.npg.org.uk - British picture framemakers, 1630-1950.
Wiliam Boswell Jnr.
William Boswell Jnr.
Portrait of J. B. Ladbrooke
Carte-de-visite, 1860s
reverse of portrait
William Boswell Jnr.
Portrait of J. B. Ladbrooke
Carte-de-visite, verso, 1860s