Chichester Photographers (J. Russell & Sons)

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Professional Photographers in Chichester (R2)


James Russell senior - James Russell junior- Josiah Russell - Thomas Russell - Hezekiah Russell - John L. Russell

James Russell senior ( 1809-1899 )

Photographer active in Chichester from before 1858 until around 1880

J. Russell & Sons

Firm of Photographers active in Chichester from around 1863 to 1903

James Russell, the founder of the Russell family of photographers, was born in West Wittering, Sussex, in1809. James Russell was baptised on 11th November 1809, the son of Richard and Jemima Russell. Richard Russell (died 1847) had married Jemima Allen (1768-1867) at South Bersted, Sussex on 14th August 1802.

Early Working Career

James Russell was working as a pawnbroker when he married Frances Aylmore (born 1810) at West Wittering on 26th January, 1831. Frances Aylmore was the daughter of Josiah and Sarah Aylmore and had been baptised in West Wittering on 8th April 1810. The couple's first child, Anne Aylmore Russell was born in West Wittering in the summer of 1831 ( baptised 12th August 1831). By 1833, James Russell and his new wife were living in Chichester, where their second daughter Annetta was baptised in the parish of St Pancras on 21st April 1833. The couple's first son, James Russell junior was born in Chichester around 1835.

By 1839, James Russell had set up a cabinet making business in East Street, Chichester. In the 1841 Census, James Russell is recorded as a "Cabinet Maker" in East Street, Chichester, and is shown living with his wife Frances and four of their children - Annetta, aged 8, James junior, aged 6, Ruth, aged 4, and Josiah, aged 2. Also listed at James Russell's house is cabinet maker Josiah Aylmore, a relative of his wife Frances and a young female servant named Charlotte Farne. ( Anne, James and Frances Russell's first child, is not listed and so she may have died young ). Over the next ten years, James Russell fathered five more children - Thomas (born 1841), Hezekiah (born 1844), John Lemmon (born 1846), Sarah Jemima (born1848) and Martha (born 1851).

By the time the 1851 Census was taken, James Russell's cabinet making and upholstery business in East Street had expanded. In the census return, James Russell senior is described as a Master Cabinet Maker, employing two men and three apprentices. One of the apprentices was James Russell's eldest son, fifteen year old James junior. Annetta Russell, now aged 18, was working as a dressmaker. By 1854, James Russell's cabinet making business was in trouble. At the end of 1852, Russell's business capital amounted to 160. In the nineteen months from 31st December 1852 to 17th July 1854, Russell's profits totalled 170, yet in the same period his trade expenses were 48 and his household expenses reached 280. On 3rd August 1854, James Russell filed for bankruptcy and on 29th September 1854, he was granted an "immediate certificate of the second class" at the Court of Bankruptcy. On 9th November 1854, Mr. Tichener, a solicitor of Chichester who was active in Russell's bankruptcy case, put up for sale "business premises in the centre of the East Street, Chichester, with large and commodius workshops in the rear." Tichenor pointed out in his notice of sale, that there had been a "a cabinet and upholstery business on these premises for upwards of half a century".

[ RIGHT] An advertisement for J. Russell & Sons, Photographers of 65 East Street, Chichester, dating from the late 1890s. The advertisement carries the Royal Coat of Arms, indicating the Royal Warrant which was granted to the firm in 1897.The advertisement suggests that this Chichester firm of photographers was established in 1853, yet I can find no hard evidence that James Russell was working as a photographer before 1857. James Russell is listed as a photographer at The Hornet, Chichester in Melville & Co.'s Directory of Sussex, published in 1858. It is possible that James Russell took photographic likenesses as a sideline to his cabinet making business around 1853, but he is not mentioned as a professional photographer in local newspapers or trade directories until 1858.

[ABOVE] An advertisement for J. Russell & Sons, Photographers, 65 East Street, Chichester. This advertisement probably dates from the  the late 1890s. A Royal Warrant was granted to the firm on 3rd May 1897.

James Russell - Photographer in Chichester

James Russell senior makes his first appearance as a professional photographer in Chichester in Melville & Co.'s Directory of Sussex, published in 1858. In his advertisements, James Russell suggests his photography business was established in 1853, but although it is possible that Russell was taking photographic portraits on the premises of his cabinet making business in East Street, Chichester, as yet, there is no documentary evidence of this. What can be established, is that the workshops that housed Russell's cabinet making and upholstery business were put up for sale towards the end of 1854 and James Russell's name disappears from Chichester's trade directories until he re-appears as a photographer at the Hornet, Chichester in 1858. The fact that his eldest son, James Russell junior, was running his own photographic studio in Lewes in 1858 at the age of twenty-three, implies that James Russell was engaged in photography around the time his cabinet making business collapsed in 1854.

By the time the 1861 Census was taken, James Russell was back in business in Chichester's East Street. In the census return, James Russell is described as a "Photographer", aged 51. James Russell's married daughter, Mrs Annetta Smythe, is recorded as a Photographer's Assistant, aged 28. Annetta's two children, two year old Ada and baby James, are also listed at their grandfather's East Street address. Hezekiah Russell, James Russell's 16 year old son, also described as a "Photographer", is shown residing with his cousins at a house on the Hornet in Chichester.

In 1862, James Russell exhibited a series of views entitled "Ruins of Chichester Cathedral" at the International Exhibition at South Kensington, London. According to James Russell's own publicity, these photographic views received an "Honourable Mention" from the Royal Commissioners of the Exhibition.

The Russell Family operated a photographic studio at 65 East Street, Chichester for over 40 years, from 1862 to 1903. Hezekiah Russell, was Russell's main operator at the East Street studio. In the 1871 Census, sixty-one year old James Russell is shown living at 65 East Street and is described as a "Photographer & Picture Frame Manufacturer", employing four men and one boy. Sharing the same house is James's twenty-seven year old son, Hezekiah Russell, occupation "Photographer", and his new wife, Elizabeth. Hezekiah Russell had recently married Elizabeth Felicia Button (born c1845, Burton, Hampshire) in Christchurch, Hampshire (Marriage registered in March Quarter of 1871).

James Russell and Sons

All of James Russell senior's sons became photographers. By 1858, his eldest son, James Russell junior (born 1835), had established a photographic studio in Lewes, at 68 High Street. Josiah Russell (born 1839), Russell's second son, had married Emma Howard (born c1842, Chichester) at St Andrew's Church, Chichester, on 7th October 1860, and then settled in Littlehampton. Josiah Russell became one of the first professional photographers to establish a portrait studio in Littlehampton. The 1861 Census records Josiah Russell as a 22 year old photographer living with his young wife in Littlehampton's High Street. After a short stay in Littlehampton, Josiah and Emma returned to Chichester, but around 1868, Josiah Russell moved to Worthing to set up a photographic portrait studio at 16 High Street, Worthing. Josiah Russell left Worthing around 1877 and eventually settled in Hampshire around 1881. James Russell's daughter Ruth Russell (born 1837, Chichester) had married John Fielder ( born c1836 Fritham, Hampshire ), a builder and undertaker of Chichester. John Fielder may have arranged the transfer of Josiah Russell's Worthing studio to George Fielder (born c1847 Fritham, Hampshire) of Fielder & Co. around 1877. John Fielder was later employed by Russell & Sons as a photographer, as was George Fielder.

In the mid 1860s, James Russell formed the firm of J. Russell & Sons with his photographer sons. During the 1870s, J. Russell & Sons established branch studios in Worthing, Littlehampton, Bognor and, for a brief time, Petworth. Around 1881, John Lemmon Russell (born 1846), Russell's youngest son, was despatched to London to establish branch studios in the capital. Over the next decade, John Lemmon Russell set up branch studios of J. Russell & Sons at Tufnell Park in N. W. London, Brompton Road in S. W. London, Brecknock Road in North London, and Baker Street in West London. Branch studios of the firm were also established in Wimbledon and Windsor.

Two of Russell's sons, Hezekiah and Thomas, remained in Chichester to pursue their photographic careers. Hezekiah Russell (born 1844) continued to work as a photographer alongside his father in the Russell's East Street studio. At the time of the 1881 Census, Hezekiah Russell was living in East Street, Chichester with his wife Elizabeth and five children - Lizzie Gertrude (born c1875), Alfred James (born c1876), Emily Grace (born c1878), Evelyn Minnie ( born c1880) and James Herbert Russell (born c1881). James Russell senior, the founder of Russell & Sons, had effectively retired from photography by this date. The 1881 Census records the widowed James Russell senior living in St Martin's Street with a single servant for company. James Russell senior, now aged seventy-one, informed the census enumerator that he was a "Painter - Artist", by profession. Around 1885, Thomas Russell (born 1841) broke away from the family firm and set up his own studio at Eastgate in Chichester. By 1891, John Fielder (James Russell senior's son-in-law) was running the studio at 65 East Street, Chichester on behalf of Russell & Sons

Russell & Sons were well known for their photographic portraits of "distinguished persons" and members of the Royal Family. Among the celebrities who sat for Russell & Sons were Aubrey Beardsley, artist, Sir Henry Rider Haggard, novelist, and the politician Arthur Balfour. In 1868, the studio of James Russell & Sons photographed Princess Victoria Mary of Teck (later Queen Mary) and, in 1870, the firm took a series of portraits of Alexandra, Princess of Wales. In 1873, Russell & Sons produced a double portrait of Alexandra, Princess of Wales, and her sister Tsarevna Marie Feodorovna of Russia. Other Royal sitters included the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Edinburgh, Princess Louise, Prince Nicholas of Russia and the Crown Prince of Germany. On 3rd May,1897, a Royal Warrant was granted to Russell & Sons. By this date the head of the firm was John Lemmon Russell. The wording of the Royal Warrant refers to "J. L. Russell, A. H. Russell, &  E. G. Russell, trading as Russell & Sons, Photographers to Her Majesty."  John Lemmon Russell was "J. L. Russell" and "A. H." and "E. G." were apparently his two photographer sons - Arthur Henry Russell (born 1875, Chichester) and Edward G. Russell (born c1882 London).

James Russell senior, one of Chichester's earliest photographers and the founder of Russell & Sons, died in Chichester during the 3rd Quarter of 1899 at the age of 89.

[ABOVE] A carte-de-visite portrait of a seated man by James Russell, Photographer of  East Street, Chichester (c1863).

[ABOVE] The reverse of  a carte-de-visite  by James Russell, Photographer, of  East Street, Chichester (c1866). The medals on the design represents the award of "Honourable Mention" given to James Russell at the International Exhibition of 1862.

Click on the page links below to view examples of the photographic work of James Russell, James Russell & Sons and John Russell & Sons

James RUSSELL senior (1809-1899): PAGE 1 : 1858-1870

James RUSSELL & Sons of Chichester:  PAGE 2 : 1871-1880 ; PAGE 3 : 1881-1890 ; PAGE 4 : 1891-1910

John RUSSELL & Sons of London: PAGE 3 : 1881-1890 ; PAGE 4 : 1891-1910


The Russell Family of Photographers


 Life Dates



James RUSSELL senior  1809-1899  Photographer & Studio Proprietor : 1858 : Hornet, CHICHESTER ; 1861-1871 : 65 East Street, CHICHESTER ; Biography - see above
Mrs Frances RUSSELL 1810-1880  Wife of Photographer Notes - see above
Anne Aylmore RUSSELL

born 1831

 Died young ?  

born 1833

 Photographer's Assistant : c1858 : CHICHESTER Notes
( later Mrs A. SMYTHE )    Photographer's Assistant : 1861 : 65 East Street, CHICHESTER Notes
James RUSSELL junior (1)  born 1835  Photographer & Studio Proprietor : 1858 : 68 High Street, LEWES ; Notes
Ruth RUSSELL   born 1837  Married ( before 1871 ) John FIELDER, Builder & Photographer Notes - see above
( later Mrs R. FIELDER )    Wife of Photographer Notes
John FIELDER born c1836  ( Husband of Ruth RUSSELL ) Studio Manager & Studio Proprietor 1891-1903 : 65 East Street, CHICHESTER Biography & Examples
Josiah RUSSELL  (2)  born 1839  Photographer & Studio Proprietor : 1861 : LITTLEHAMPTON ; 1862-1867 : CHICHESTER ; 1868-1874 : WORTHING ; 1881 : PORTSEA Biography & Examples
Thomas RUSSELL (3)  1841-1903  Photographer & Studio Proprietor 1885-1888 : East Gate, CHICHESTER ; 1888-1903 : 20 Southgate, CHICHESTER Biography & Examples
Mrs Mary Harriett RUSSELL  born c1837 Wife of Thomas RUSSELL Notes
Mrs Mary H. RUSSELL   Widow of Thomas RUSSELL. Studio Proprietor; 1903-1911 : 20 Southgate, CHICHESTER Notes
Hezekiah RUSSELL (4)

born 1844

 Photographer & Studio Manager : 1861 & 1871 (Photographer) ; 1881 : 65 East Street, CHICHESTER Notes - see above
John Lemmon RUSSELL(5)

born 1846

 Photographer, Studio Manager & Proprietor : 1871: CHICHESTER ; 1881-1901 : LONDON Notes & Examples
Sarah Jemima RUSSELL

born 1848

 Married (1875) Alfred John THOMPSON, Builder Notes - see above

born 1850

 Died young ?  
Hezekiah RUSSELL (2a)    born 1868  Emigrated to USA. Married (1897) Ina Pearl SARGENT in Ohio  
Martha RUSSELL      
Hezekiah R. RUSSELL (3a)


 Son of Thomas RUSSELL.  Photo Operator; 1881-1893 : CHICHESTER . Died 23rd March 1893, aged 26 Notes
Alice Frances RUSSELL (3b)    born 1864  Assistant in Photography. 1901 : 20 Southgate, CHICHESTER ; Studio Proprietor; 1903-1911 : 20 Southgate, CHICHESTER Notes
Martha RUSSELL (3c)

born 1884

 Assistant in Photography. 1901 : 20 Southgate, CHICHESTER Notes
James Herbert RUSSELL (4e)    born 1881  Son of Hezekiah RUSSELL. 1901 : Photographer in PLYMOUTH  
John  RUSSELL  (5a)

 born c1865

 Photographer's Assistant & Photographer. 1881: LONDON  
Nora J. RUSSELL  (5b)

born c1866

 Photographer's Assistant. 1881: LONDON  
Arthur H. RUSSELL  (5c)   born c1875  Photographer's Assistant & Photographer. 1881-1901: LONDON  
Edward RUSSELL  (5d)   born c1882  Photographer's Assistant & Photographer. 1881-1901: LONDON  
Martha RUSSELL  (5e)   born c1884  Assistant in Photography. 1901 : LONDON  





  James RUSSELL The Hornet, CHICHESTER 1858-1859 James Russell assisted by Annetta Russell. Notes - see above
  James RUSSELL  65 East Street, CHICHESTER 1859-1865 James Russell assisted by Hezekiah and Mrs Annetta Smythe (previously Annetta Russell). Notes - see above
  James RUSSELL & Sons  65 East Street, CHICHESTER 1866 -1903 Managers: Hezekiah Russell (1881-1889), John Fielder (1890-1903) Notes - see above
  Thomas RUSSELL  East Gate, CHICHESTER 1885-1888 Independent of James Russell senior


    20 South Gate,  CHICHESTER 1888- 1903 Independent of James Russell senior


  Mrs M. H. RUSSELL 20 South Gate,  CHICHESTER  1903-1911 Proprietor - Widow of Thomas Russell


  James RUSSELL junior 58 High Street, LEWES 1858 Independent of James Russell senior  
  Josiah RUSSELL  High Street, LITTLEHAMPTON 1861 Independent of James Russell senior


  James RUSSELL & Sons Terminus Road, LITTLEHAMPTON 1874-1880 Manager : Alfred King


  Josiah RUSSELL 16 High Street, WORTHING 1870-1872 Independent of James Russell senior


  James RUSSELL & Sons Bath Place, WORTHING 1873-1881 Manager: Edward Pattison Pett ( To Edward Pattison PETT in 1881)  
  James RUSSELL & Sons Lennox Street, BOGNOR 1878  


  James RUSSELL & Sons 27 High Street, BOGNOR 1878-1887  


  James RUSSELL & Sons PETWORTH 1877    
  James RUSSELL & Sons 29 Union Road, Tufnell Park, LONDON N.W. 1881-1884 Manager : John Lemmon Russell  
    199 Brompton Road, LONDON S.W. 1884-1888 Manager : John Lemmon Russell  
    49(a) Brecknock Road, LONDON N. 1885-1899    
    17 Baker Street, Portman Square, LONDON W. 1889-1908+ Manager : John Lemmon Russell  
  James RUSSELL & Sons 28 Wimbledon Hill, 2 Hill Road, WIMBLEDON


 Manager : George Fielder ?  
  James RUSSELL & Sons 13 High Street, WINDSOR


  James RUSSELL & Sons 116, High Street, PORTSMOUTH


  Josiah RUSSELL 522 Commercial Road, PORTSMOUTH 1890-1895 Independent of James Russell senior  
    47 London Road, PORTSMOUTH 1899-1907 Independent of James Russell senior  
  Hezekiah RUSSELL Exmouth Lodge, St. Vincent Road, SOUTHSEA 1890    
  James RUSSELL & Sons 48 Clarendon Road, SOUTHSEA 1890-1895    
    50 Clarendon Road, SOUTHSEA 1896-1899    
    43 Osborne Road, SOUTHSEA 1903-1910+    

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