Vieler R W

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Professional Photographers in Eastbourne (V)

Rudolph Wilhelm Vieler

Rudolph Wilhelm Vieler (born 1853, Iserlohn, Westphalia, Germany - died 1925, Eastbourne)

The Eastbourne photographer Rudolph Wilhelm Vieler was born in the German city of Iserlohn on 5th February 1853, the son of Carl Vieler and Wilhelmina Brauckhagen ( Rudolph's baptism was recorded on 8th March, 1853, at Iserlohn, Westphalia, Prussia). Rudolph's brother, Emil Vieler (born 1851, Iserlohn, Westphalia) also became a professional photographer in England and ran studios in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, and Bexhill in Sussex.

Rudolph Vieler was the sixth son of Carl Vieler (1819-1888), a German merchant who had emigrated to England in the mid 1860s. By 1866, Carl Vieler had settled in Bradford, Yorkshire with his second wife and their four children, plus three sons from his first marriage. Carl Vieler established himself as a " Foreign Produce Merchant" in Bradford and three of his sons eventually found employment in Bradford's woollen industry, yet Rudolph and his brother Emil chose to become professional portrait photographers. Rudolph Vieler worked as a photographer in Eastbourne for over 30 years and Emil Vieler ended his photographic career in Bexhill-on-Sea.

[ABOVE ] A postcard portrait of a group of young men and women by R. W. Vieler, 19 Elms Buildings, Eastbourne, inscribed "Eastbourne, Sept., 1912". Rudolph Vieler worked as a photographer in Eastbourne from about 1877. The photographic studio of "R. W. Vieler" was still in business in 1927.


[ABOVE] The trade plate of Rudolph Wilhelm Vieler, Artist & Photographer of  3 Terminus Road, Eastbourne (c1885)



[ABOVE] A 19th Century Panoramic View of Bradford. In 1801, the township of Bradford, Yorkshire had a total population of 6,393. By 1861, the town's population had risen to 48,648.

[ABOVE] The City of Bradford in 1873. A woodcut engraving from The Illustrated London News, 1873. When this drawing was made, the township of Bradford had a population of  nearly 65,000. The total population of the Municipal Borough of Bradford had risen from 107,000 in 1861 to 147,00 in 1871.

[ABOVE] Market Street, Bradford (c1910).

 The Vieler Family of Bradford

Carl Vieler arrived in Bradford from Germany around 1865. Carl Vieler was one of many German merchants that had settled in Bradford in the 1850s and 1860s. In the mid 19th century, Bradford was the centre of Yorkshire's woollen industry and German merchants had been attracted to Bradford because of its flourishing trade in textiles. In 1830 only three of the twenty-four wool merchants in Bradford were classed as "foreigners". By 1860, there were 157 wool merchants trading in the town and 65 of these were foreign-born, mostly from Germany. The German merchants built large warehouses in Bradford and settled in the commercial district between Leeds Road and Church Bank. Because of the large number of German merchants living and working in this district, this precinct of Bradford was called "New Germany" and the area is still known as "Little Germany" today.

In White's Directory of 1870, Carl Vieler is listed as a "Foreign Provision Merchant" at 30 Trafalgar Street, Bradford. At this time Carl Vieler had at least ten children living with him in Bradford - Paul Friedrich Wilhelm (born 1848, Iserlohn, Germany), Emil (born 1851, Iserlohn, Germany), Rudolph Wilhelm (born 1853, Iserlohn, Germany), Albert (born 1858, Iserlohn, Germany), Otto (born 1862, Iserlohn, Germany), Caroline Sophie Martha (born 17th February 1860, Iserlohn, Germany), Julius Hermann (born 1865, Bradford), Adela Laura (born 1867, Bradford) and Ernst August Vieler (born 1869, Bradford). The six youngest children were from the union of Carl Vieler and his second wife Sophie Augustine Neuhaus (1832-1889), also from Iserlohn. Carl Vieler's first wife, Wilhelmina Brauckhagen, the mother of Paul, Emil and Rudolph Vieler, had died in Germany in 1856.

By 1879, Carl Vieler and his family had moved to 13 North Parade, Bradford. By this date, two of Carl Vieler's sons had left home and married - Emil in 1874 and Rudolph towards the end of 1876.The 1881 census records Carl Vieler at 13 North Parade with his second wife Sophie and five of his children. Carl's eldest son, thirty-two year old Paul Vieler was working as a cashier in a stuff (worsted woollen cloth) warehouse and Paul's fifteen year old brother Julius Vieler was working as a "clerk in a wool warehouse". Caroline Sophie Martha Vieler, known as "Martha", is recorded as an unmarried woman of twenty-one (she was not to marry until she was over 40 years of age). The two youngest children, Adela ("Adele"), aged 13, and twelve year old Ernst ("Ernest") were still at school. The head of the household, Carl Vieler, is described in the census return as "Foreign Produce Merchant", aged 61.

Carl Vieler died in Bradford in 1888 at the age of sixty-nine [Death registered in Bradford during the Fourth Quarter of 1888]. The "foreign produce" business carried on under the name of "Carl Vieler" at 21 North Parade, Bradford until at least 1898. The business was probably run during these years by Carl's eldest son Paul Vieler, who by 1901 had retired to Blackpool and was "Living on Own Means". (Paul's sister Adela ("Adele") Laura Vieler was also residing in Blackpool and living on her private income in 1901. Adele was single at the time of the census, but she had married by the end of that year).  Julius Vieler rose through the ranks of the wool industry - in 1898 he was working as a cashier and when the 1901 census was taken he is recorded as a  thirty-five year old "Wool Merchant" in Bradford. In 1901, Ernst ("Ernest") Vieler was working as a "Cloth Buyer" in his home city.






Rudolph W. Vieler - Photographic Artist in Eastbourne

[ABOVE ] The reverse of a carte-de-visite portrait by Rudolph Wilhelm Vieler, produced soon after William Hicks & Co. sold their Eastbourne studio to Vieler around 1881. R. W. Vieler, the new proprietor, has stamped his name over the studio details provided by W. Hicks & Co., Rudolph Vieler's predecessor at the Terminus Road studio

[ABOVE ] A carte-de-visite portrait of a boy, photographed by Rudolph  Vieler soon after he took over the studio at 3 Terminus Road, Eastbourne. The name 'R. W. VIELER'  has been stamped  above the name of the previous studio proprietor W. Hicks & Co. The studio at 3 Terminus Road, Eastbourne was sold to Rudolph Vieler around 1881.

On 30th October 1876, Rudolph Wilhelm Vieler married a local woman named Ruth Russell (born 1854 Bradford, Yorkshire) at Annesley Chapel, Horton in Bradford.  Rudolph Vieler's elder brother, Emil Vieler, had married Ruth's sister, Sarah Russell (born 1849, Bradford) a couple of years earlier in 1874.

Shortly after their marriage, Rudolph and Ruth Vieler travelled down to Eastbourne, a seaside resort on the Sussex coast. Rudolph and Ruth's first child, Wilhelmina ("Minnie") Gertrude Vieler was born in Eastbourne on 9th September 1877.

Rudolph Vieler might have found employment with the long established studio of William Hicks & Co. at 3 Terminus Road, Eastbourne. William Hicks (1829-1888) had worked as a photographer at Ryde on the Isle of Wight from the mid 1850s, but, by early 1864, he had established a studio in Eastbourne. Hicks worked from three different studios in Eastbourne over the next ten years, but by 1874 he had set up a new studio at 3 Terminus Road. When Rudolph Vieler arrived in Eastbourne around 1877, William Hicks was still the head of the firm of W. Hicks & Co., but he was concentrating on his new business venture as a builder and property developer and employed other photographers, including his teenage son John Hicks (born 1859, Ryde, Isle of Wight), to run the studio at 3 Terminus Road, Eastbourne.

Around 1881, Rudolph Vieler purchased William Hicks' studio at 3 Terminus Road, Eastbourne. At the time of the 1881 census, Rudolph was living with his wife and three year old daughter at 8 Manooth Terrace, in Ashford Road, Eastbourne. (Manooth Terrace was later incorporated into Ashford Road, Eastbourne). In the census return, Rudolph W. Vieler is described as a "Photographer", aged 28, and he gives his place of birth as "Westphalia, Prussia". The following year, there was an addition to the Vieler household. On 12th February 1882, Rudolph's wife Ruth gave birth to a son, who was named Percival Rudolph Vieler. A third child, Harold Carl Vieler was born in 1887 [birth registered in Eastbourne during the Third Quarter of 1887].

Rudolph Vieler was to operate the studio at 3 Terminus Road, Eastbourne, for almost twenty years. In later publicity Rudolph Vieler claimed that his studio at 3 Terminus Road had been established in 1856. This is misleading. There was no studio in Eastbourne in 1856. The first photographic studio in Eastbourne was established by Albert Vidler in South Street around 1857. Rudolph Vieler was probably referring to the establishment of William Hicks' first studio on the Isle of Wight around 1856. It should be remembered that Rudolph Vieler was only three years of age in 1856.

The Crown Studio of Rudolph Wilhelm Vieler

[ABOVE ] The reverse of a carte-de-visite portrait produced by Rudolph W. Vieler, at The Crown Studio, 3 Terminus Road, Eastbourne in the late 1890s. The establishment date of 1856 is "artistic licence" and probably refers to the year that William Hicks, the previous occupant of the studio at 3 Terminus Road, started his career as a photographer. Hicks did not arrive in Eastbourne until about 1864 and Rudolph Vieler was three years old in 1856.

Rudolph Vieler's Crown Studio in Eastbourne between 1890 and 1900

When the 1891 census was taken, Rudolph Vieler was residing with his family at 3 Terminus Road, where he had his photographic studio. Rudolph Vieler is entered on the census return as a "Photographer", aged 38. Also living at 3 Terminus Road was Rudolph's thirty-seven year old wife Ruth, Minnie aged 13, Percival, aged 9, and three year old Harold.

In this period, Rudolph Vieler was calling his business premises in Terminus Road "The Crown Studio". In the advertisements printed on the reverse of his cartes-de-visite, Rudolph Vieler describes himself as an "Artist & Photographer". In the early 1880s, Vieler was advertising his services as an artist, miniature painter and photographer. The small carte-de-visite portraits were copied in paint or crayon to produce pictures that resembled the traditional portrait miniature of a previous age. Other photographic portraits were "enlarged to life size and delicately finished in oil or water color and in crayon". The introduction of highly sensitive dry plates in the late 1870s meant that photographic portraits could be taken in fractions of a second. Vieler could now offer "instantaneous portraits of children" and family groups in the larger cabinet format. Previously, family portraits were often spoiled by sudden movements or fidgety children. In the mid 1880s, Rudolph Vieler was taking successful group portraits featuring five or more members of one family. [See the Family Group Portrait by R. W. Vieler in the Gallery of Cabinet Photographs by clicking on this link : Rudolph Wilhelm Vieler - Photographic Gallery 2 (cabinets)

The availability of manufactured gelatin dry plates allowed Rudolph Vieler to leave the confines of his studio and take photographs on location. Advertisements which appeared on the back of his studio portraits in the 1890s declared that Rudolph W. Vieler was a "Portrait, Landscape & Equestrian Photographer".



Click on the link below to view examples of Rudolph Vieler's cabinet portraits

Rudolph Wilhelm Vieler - Photographic Gallery 2 (cabinets)

Cartes-de-visite by Rudolph W. Vieler of 3 Terminus Road, Eastbourne

[ABOVE ] The reverse of a carte-de-visite portrait by Rudolph Wilhelm Vieler, produced around 1882.

[ABOVE ] A carte-de-visite portrait of a young woman in an oval frame, photographed by Rudolph Vieler around 1888. [Negative No 1698]

[ABOVE ] The reverse of a carte-de-visite portrait by Rudolph Wilhelm Vieler, produced around 1890.

[ABOVE ] A carte-de-visite portrait of a young woman, photographed by Rudolph Vieler around 1890.


Rudolph Wilhelm Vieler after 1900

Around 1900, Rudolph Vieler vacated the long established studio at 3 Terminus Road and set up his photography business at 19 Elms Buildings, Seaside Road, Eastbourne. Elms Buildings were a row of tall houses, with shops at ground level. Vieler is listed as a photographer at this new address in the 1901-1902 edition of Pike's Directory of Eastbourne.

When the 1901 census was taken, Rudolph Vieler and his family were living above his studio at 19 Elms Buildings. Rudolph Vieler is described in the census return as a "Photographer (Employer)", aged 48. Rudolph's place of birth is given as Prussia, but he is recorded as a "Naturalised British Subject". Rudolph is shown living with his wife Ruth and their three children - Minnie, aged 23, Harold, aged 13, and nineteen year old Percival Vieler, who gives his occupation as "Photographer's Assistant".

Over the next six years, all three of Rudolph and Ruth's children married - Wilhelmina (Minnie) Gertrude Vieler in 1902, Percival Rudolph Vieler in 1905, and Harold Carl Vieler in 1907.

Percival Rudolph Vieler married Ada Grace Cornwell (born 1879, Eastbourne), a former draper's assistant, in Eastbourne during the 2nd Quarter of 1905. Ada Grace Cornwell, Percival Vieler's bride, was the daughter of Rebecca and Ebenezer Cornwell, a successful local builder and building contractor. At the time of the 1881 census, Ebenezer and Rebecca Cornwell and their family of five daughters and four sons were residing at 12 Tideswell Road, Eastbourne. On the census return, Ebenezer Cornwell is described as a "Builder employing 27 men and 3 boys".

In Kelly's Sussex Directory of 1918, Rudolph Vieler is listed as a photographer at 29 Seaside Road, Eastbourne.

Rudolph Wilhelm Vieler died in Eastbourne on 1st March 1925 at the age of 72. The Vieler Studio at 29 Seaside Road, Eastbourne was recorded in local trade directories up until 1927. Percival Vieler ran the Vieler studio in Seaside Road after his father's death in 1925.

Rudolph's eldest son, Percival Rudolph Vieler died in Eastbourne in May 1962.

Rudolph's second son, Harold Carl Vieler died in Chatham, Kent in 1946.

[ABOVE ] A postcard portrait of a mother with her two children by R. W. Vieler, Seaside Road, Eastbourne [Negative No 29453]  c1905

[ABOVE ] A postcard studio portrait of a young woman by R. W. Vieler,19 Elms Buildings, Eastbourne [Negative No 12624C] c1912


Click on the link below to view examples of Rudolph Vieler's carte-de-visite portraits

Rudolph Wilhelm Vieler - Photographic Gallery 1 (cartes)


Click on the link below to view examples of Rudolph Vieler's cabinet portraits

Rudolph Wilhelm Vieler - Photographic Gallery 2 (cabinets)


Click on the link below to view examples of Rudolph Vieler's postcard portraits

Rudolph Wilhelm Vieler - Photographic Gallery 3 (postcards)



 I am indebted to Adrian Vieler, the grandson of Ernest August Vieler (the youngest half-brother of Emil and Rudolph Vieler) for providing family history details of the Vieler Family. I am grateful to Graham Mayes for proving information about Ada Grace Cornwell, the wife of Percival Vieler, Rudolph Vieler's eldest son. Thanks to Frances Muncey for providing details about Manooth Terrace in Eastbourne.

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