Walter N. Malby

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Walter Noah Malby - Professional Photographer in Chichester

Walter Noah Malby - W. P. Marsh - Edward McBeath - William Mears - Arthur H. Morey

Walter Noah MALBY

Walter Noah MALBY ( born c1858, London - died 1892, Chichester, Sussex ).

Photographer active in Chichester between 1880 and 1892

Walter Noah Malby was born in London around 1858, probably the eldest son of Walter Malby senior (born c1832, London, Middlesex), a London photographer.  Between 1868 and 1872, Walter Malby senior operated a studio at 155 City Road, London. It is likely that Walter Malby senior was working as an itinerant photographer after 1873 and by the end of the decade he was in the Chichester area. At the time of the 1881 Census, Walter Malby senior, described by the enumerator as a 49 year old photographer, is shown living at a private house in Whyke Lane, Chichester, with his wife Jane Malby, aged 45, who originated from Gloucester.**

[ABOVE] The trade plate of Walter Malby, Photographer of 155 City Road, London (c1868). Walter Malby senior operated a studio at 155 City Road, London between 1868 and 1872. For a brief time, around 1870, Walter Malby senior also ran a branch studio in Gravesend. [RIGHT] A carte-de-visite portrait of a man by Walter Malby senior of City Road, London. The photographer was probably the father of Walter Noah Malby.


Around 1880, Walter Noah Malby was also in the Chichester area. In 1879, Walter Noah Malby, then aged about twenty-one, married Agnes Henrietta Gray ( born 1859, Littlehampton ). The marriage was registered in the Portsea District of Hampshire in the December Quarter of 1879. The couple's first child, Archibald Gray Malby, was born in Chichester during the June Quarter of 1880. Another son, Frank Gray Malby, arrived in the September Quarter of 1882 and a third, Don Gray Malby, followed in the June Quarter of 1884. A daughter, Ivy Gray Malby, was born towards the end of 1886, but she died in the early months of the following year.

*There is a record of a marriage between a Walter Malby and a woman named Mary Ann Rumney in Shoreditch, London in the September Quarter of 1857. Mary Ann Malby died in Shoreditch at the end of 1866, aged 43. Mrs Jane Malby of Gloucester may have been Walter Malby senior's second wife.

** Albert James Malby (born c1860, London), a travelling photographer and possibly another son of Walter Malby senior, is shown boarding in Gloucester, Jane Malby's home town, at the time of the 1881 Census. Albert Malby briefly ran a studio in Petworth, Sussex.


[ABOVE] Walter Noah Malby, artist and photographer, standing in front of his painting "The Goodwood Hunt", which measured about seven feet by four feet. Malby thought of himself primarily as an artist.



[ABOVE] An advertisement for Walter N. Malby, Artist and Photographer of 68 East Street, Chichester.

Walter N. Malby's Photographic Studio in Chichester

Walter Noah Malby established a photographic studio at No 68 East Street, Chichester around 1880. Malby described his premises in East street as "a large Studio with a clear uninterrupted light ". He styled himself as an "Artist and Photographer" and in addition to producing  photographic portraits and views, he also executed pictures in oil paints, water-colour and crayons.

Walter N. Malby had a scale of charges based on the size of the finished photograph. When Malby offered for sale copies of his photographic portrait of Richard Durnford, the Lord Bishop of Chichester, the prices for each format size were as follows : Carte-de-visite size - 1 shilling, Cabinet size - 1s 6d,  Imperial size (9 inches by 7 inches) - 2s 6d,  Panel size ( 111/2 inches by 7 inches ) - 4 shillings and the largest size of print ( 12 inches by 10 inches) - 5 shillings.

With the growing success of his photography business, Malby began to employ specialist photographers and assistants. He secured the services of "a most talented Landscape Photographer" to produce "Out-Door Photography" and employed a team of "First-Rate Artists" to colour his photographs and produce miniature paintings on ivory. Small photographs were coloured to imitate painted miniatures and other photographic portraits were enlarged and then coloured in oils to give the impression of a painted portrait.


[ ABOVE] Walter Noah Malby's Photographic Studio at No 68 East Street, Chichester.


[ABOVE] A carte-de-visite portrait of a girl by Walter N. Malby of East Street, Chichester (c1890).

[ABOVE] The design on the back of a carte-de-visite  by Walter N. Malby of  68 East Street, Chichester.(c1890)

[ABOVE] A carte-de-visite portrait of a woman by Walter N. Malby of 68 East Street, Chichester (c1888).


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[ABOVE] Walter Noah Malby's photograph of Selsey fishermen, for which he was awarded a prize medal in 1885.

Walter Noah Malby - Artist and Photographer

A report which appeared in the local press after Walter N. Malby's death in 1892, noted that "the deceased had gained much distinction in his profession, and was the possessor of medals won at Derby and Nottingham in connection with the Photographic Society of Great Britain." Walter Malby had exhibited a photograph of Selsey fishermen at the Annual Exhibition of the Photographic Society of Great Britain in London. Malby's photograph formed part of a touring exhibition of pictures from the Photographic Society of Great Britain and was displayed at the Derby Corporation Art Gallery and the Art Museum at Nottingham Castle. At Derby, the Corporation awarded Malby an "Industrial Art Prize Medal" and the Committee of the Nottingham Art Museum presented him with a "Medal for Success in Art"

[ABOVE] A Scene on Chichester Canal. An oil painting by Walter Noah Malby (1884). Walter N.Malby generally described himself as an "Artist and Photographer".  [CHICHESTER DISTRICT MUSEUM]

[ABOVE] The design on the back of a cabinet photograph by Walter N. Malby of  68 East Street, Chichester, showing the prize medals that Malby had been awarded in London, Derby and Nottingham (c1888).



Walter N. Malby's studio premisesat at 68 East Street, decorated for Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887. An artist as well as a photographer, Walter Malby probably painted the figure of Queen Victoria and the various flags and coats of arms which adorn the walls above his shop front.

Walter Noah Malby and Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887

Chichester, like many of the towns and cities of England, organized a number of events to celebrate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in June, 1887. Citizens of Chichester were invited to "decorate their premises with flags, flowers, bunting &c" .Tradesmen and shopkeepers decorated their shops and business premises with colourful flags and banners and Walter Malby, a professional artist, painted some spectacular designs to adorn the front of his studio (see illustration, left). On Tuesday, 21st June 1887, the actual day of the Jubilee celebration, there was a special procession from the Council Chambers to the Cathedral. The procession, headed by William Smith, the Mayor of Chichester, made its way to the Recreation Ground (later named Jubilee Park), where the Mayor planted a "Jubilee Tree" to commemorate the occasion. As part of the Jubilee celebrations, almost two thousand children were instructed to assemble in the open space of Chichester's Cattle Market and then "march in Procession up the East Street and down the North street to The Priory Park, where they will be entertained with Exhibitions of Punch and Judy, and Marionettes, Races, and Children's Games". Walter Malby, as one of the town's leading photographers, was to play an important role in ensuring that each child would have a souvenir of that special day. On a poster advertising the Queen's Jubilee celebrations, published in early June,1887, the Mayor announced "At 1:30 1,800 CHILDREN will assemble in the CATTLE MARKET where they will be PHOTOGRAPHED by Mr. W. N. Malby, who will subsequently present each child with a copy".








The Death of Walter Noah Malby

Walter Noah Malby died at his house in North Pallant, Chichester on 10th September 1892, when he was in his mid-thirties (some reports gave his age as 35, the registration of his death records his age at death as 34). The Bognor Observer of 14th September 1892 provided the following death notice :

"DEATH OF MR. W. N. MALBY. -- Many persons will hear with feelings of deep regret of the death at the early age 35, of Mr. Walter N. Malby, the well-known artist and photographer. The deceased, who had only been confined to the house since the beginning of last week, expired at his private residence in the North Pallant at an early hour on Saturday morning. Pleasant in manner and most genial in disposition, Mr. Malby gained hosts of friends, and the greatest sympathy will be felt for the widow and three little sons in the bereavement which has with such suddenness befallen them. The deceased had gained much distinction in his profession, and was the possessor of medals won at Derby and Nottingham in connection with the Photographic Society of Great Britain. He also held the office of Steward in the local Lodge of Freemasons."

The Bognor Observer also issued a report on Walter Malby's funeral, when " the mortal remains were laid to rest in the grounds of Chichester Cemetery the presence of a very large number of sympathising friends and fellow citizens." Walter Malby's two eldest sons, twelve year old Archie and ten year old Frank headed the procession which followed the body of their father to the grave. The Bognor Observer's account of the funeral ended with the following words : "The greatest sympathy is felt in the town and neighbourhood for Mrs Malby and her three little sons in their great trouble."

Another obituary stated that Mrs Agnes Malby, the widow of the deceased, "intends with such assistance as she may find necessary, to carry on the business which her husband founded."

Mrs. Agnes Malby, Walter's widow, took over the running of the studio at 68 East Street, but when she agreed to marry Henry George Wakeford, a man of private income, ten years her senior, the decision was made to sell the photography business. The East Street studio was taken over by Charles Hugh Barden (born 1862, London), a portrait and landscape photographer, who ran the studio for over 10 years, from 1894 to 1905. Agnes Malby married Henry Wakeford ( born 1849, Earnley, Sussex) in the June Quarter of 1894 and and eventually settled in West Itchenor with her husband. In the 1901 Census, Harry Wakeford is described as "Living on own Means".  

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