Appletons studio
Leeds and Bradford Photographic Studios


A look at the history of the studios and the photographers, with examples of their work,

making reference to historical events, famous people and well known places. 

See related photos on  Flickr and Instagram


Welcome to the website dedicated to Victorian Photographic Studios in Leeds and Bradford.This site will be changed and updated throughout 2020 so please call back regularly.

Latest updates -    Page on Riley Bros early films Jan 2016. Work started on Full Directory March 2016. First stage of Bradford Directory complete. Appleton story updated March 2016. Living Pictures timeline March 2016. Appleton/Lund Slides of India included. Details of William Hanson added April 2016. Short article on Issac Holden added. April 2016. 1860s Gallery and 1870s Gallery added May 2016. Section of Methodist Ministers, Appleton June 2016. Dec 2016 more detail added to Sachs story. Alfred Bracewell's slides added to Flickr. Detail of John Eastham added to Sarony's story Jan 2017. Sachs story updated Feb 2017. Details of Appletons and Henry Snowden Ward involvement with X Rays included Mar 2017. Sachs numbering and dating article rewritten April 2017. Sachs connection with James Barraclough who in turn was connected with the Brontes. Work started on Skeolan June 2017. First phase of Skeolan complete. Study of Holden/Illingworth Album Oct 2017. Work started on Worsnop and Leeds Directory Jan 2018. First phase of Worsnop complete, March 2018. Work started on Newell May 2018. Nov Worthies page updated. From Dec 2018 work started on a comprehensive list of Bradford Worthies with details of portraits and biographies. April 2019 work on Worthies continuing in aid of Undercliffe Cemetery Charity. Just finished a booklet on Nancy De Garrs, Charlotte Bronte's nurse. Its available from bookshops in Haworth, the Visit Bradford tourist office and Undercliffe Cemetery. Dec 2109 Directory of Leeds Victorian Photographers included. First draft of Leeds Photographic Studios complete. Jan 2020. Illustrations added to Leeds and Bradford Directories Feb Search is on for the Straddlebugs March 2020. May/June 2020 updating the Appleton's story. October 2020 Straddlebugs research reaching a conclusion.
Photographic equipment and supplies

  • Percy Lund
  • Appleton
  • William Middlemiss
  • Riley Brothers


  • R H White
  • Lonsdale
  • Mason & Sons
  • Pearson & Denham
  • Reynolds and Branson
  • James Walker
  • Watkinson & Co
Links to other websites

Leeds Town Hall

Leeds Town Hall designed by Mr C Broderick and opened in 1858 was one of the public buildings photographed by studio photographers. This example was taken by Hanson of Leeds. When the Town Hall was opened by Queen Victoria she was presented with a series of views of the new building by Edmund Wormald and William Child. Their studio was close by in Great George Street. It was quite an achievement for them to have their work presented to the Queen as they had only been in business for less than two years.


To give us a greater understanding of the phenomenon of the celebrity carte de viste this article has been included on the site. It includes some detail of one of the most successful photographic studios in England, that of Camille Silvy. Not a Leeds or Bradford photographer but no doubt someone who many looked up to as a shining example of how the art of studio photography should be performed. 

Carte De Visite - Card Design

Braithwaite Carte Design

One of the more elaborate card designs used by Charles Henry Braithwaite of Albion Street, Leeds. Charles had been working as a master butcher in Leeds but found photography more to his liking. He started by working for John/Joseph Baume as a canvasser but then set up in partnership with Joseph Navey. Baume had previously worked with Oliver Sarony one of the most celebrated photographers of the Victorian era.. Charles or C. H. Braithwaite as he was known
established good connections and was fortunate to be able to take portraits of some of the most influential people in Leeds, local Industrialists, Mayors, MPs such as Herbert Gladstone and Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone (shown here). He also managed to acquire a portrait of Bill Cody when he put on the Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show at Cardigan Fields, Leeds in June 1891. Cody brought his Red Indians, Mexicans, Buck Riders, Cowboys, Riflemen, Horses and 18 Buffalos with him and advertised that he was going to put on the show come rain or shine. One of the copies of the portrait was sold at auction in 2009.


A new feature of the site is the 1860s Gallery and 1870s Gallery. Eventually a gallery view will be presented for each decade. It should then be possible to see the changing styles of photography and methods used throughout the Victorian period. For those interested in Victorian fashion and style it will offer a snapshot of each decade. For a slide show of these images see the Flickr website.


1870s Gallery now included



Links to other websites covering Leeds and Bradford photographers.
Links to Leeds and Bradford websites
Timeline of Events in Leeds and Bradford

Links to websites covering the history of Victorian photography

Research Material


Angus Holden
Isaac Holden

Sir Isaac Holden (photo on the right) , 1st Baronet, (1807 - 1897) Inventor, Manufacturer and Politician. Business Partner with Samuel Cunliffe Lister, Father to Angus Holden (photo on the left), Mayor of Bradford, MP and Later Baron Holden. Both Permanent Chromotype portraits by Albert Sachs taken between 1876 and 1881 when Sachs was operating from 20 Manningham Lane. When Isaac's daughter Margaret Holden married Alfred Illingworth it connected two of the most influential families in the area. This connection between the two families was also reinforced by the marriage of Angus Holden to Margaret Illingworth and Isaac's other daughter Mary Holden to Henry Illingworth. The Holdens and Illingworths employed thousands of people in Bradford and in the case of the Holdens in France. Their success drew them into politics and by the mid 1880's all three men were MPs at the same time. Isaac MP for Keighley, his son Angus MP for the Eastern Division of Bradford and Alfred MP for Bradford West. Alfred was also director of The Bradford District Bank. An extract from their family album can be seen here.


patrick bronte
charlotte bronte 

Carte De Visite of Charlotte Bronte produced by John Hartley who ran the Post Office at Haworth between 1887-1891 and portrait of Patrick Bronte by unknown photographer. Probably originally sold to tourists while visiting Haworth after Charlotte became famous. Both these portraits were discovered in a Scottish family album in Edinburgh.

In a letter to the Bradford Observer  published on  the 19th November 1857 a literary man describes how he and a friend took a visit to Haworth.

“As we walked slowly up the street we lighted upon a chemist’s shop with a frame of photographic portraits hung outside.  In the centre was a likeness of an elderly gentleman with white hair, strongly marked  but expressive features and a peculiarly large neckcloth.  Mr Bronte ! we both exclaimed in a breath” …………..  “ Returning to our Inn we received Mr Bronte’s invitation to visit him which we immediately complied. We were ushered into a small front parlour and very cordially saluted by the original of the photograph we had seen in the chemist’s shop. Truly a most remarkable man is Mr Bronte and worthy to be the father of such a family”………. “We purchased a couple of photographic portraits of Mr Bronte as we passed the chemists shop”


Photographers World

Percy Lund's Photographer's World Journal 'for the profession only' distributed to up to 5000 photographers and dealers around the world. Posted out from the Ilkley Post Office. It was produced from 1886 to 1889. Percy encouraged Professional Photographers to send him self portraits so he could produce the Photographer's World album. He then went on to produce, with the help of Henry Snowden Ward, the Practical Photographer and many photography books. Percy set up a photographic materials business providing a one stop shop for the professional photographer, he later sold this part of the business to Richard James Appleton and concentrated on printing and publishing establishing the company Percy Lund Humphries.


Leeds Photographic Convention

Leeds Photographic Convention 1896

The annual Photographic Convention was held in Leeds in 1896 bringing professional and amateur photographers together from all over the UK. Donald MacIver was charged with taking the group photograph. As you would expect some of the photographers had something to say about Donald MacIver's efforts. According to the British Photographic  Journal “the light was dull, the wind was blowing hard, the focusing cloths swirled and waved, one or two members thought they knew better than the photographer where they should stand and when the first exposure was made, somebody loudly and confidently expressed the opinion that it was underdone. Then one of the cameras appeared to be not quite level, and somebody else obligingly informed the photographer of the fact. The reply from Mr Sellman from Huddersfield, who was assisting Mr McIver, was simply ‘Would you like to come out and look for yourself?’ And not wishing to be out of the group, the interrupter was silent.

James Berry - Executioner

James Berry was a public executioner from Heckmondwike who lived in Bradford. He kept an album of the murderers that he had dispatched, after he had executed Mary Ann Britland he didn’t have her photo so he wrote to the Ashton Chief constable. 
“ Sir – I would take it as a favour if you would send me a carte-de-visite of Mary Ann Britland, the Ashton prisoner whom I executed at Her Majesty’s prison, Strangeways, Manchester. I did not hear them selling outside the prison, and I thought I should like one to put to my collection of murderers, whom I have hung on different occasions. I herewith enclose you my card, trusting you will send me one, or give me the address of the photographer. – I am sir yours faithfully James Berry, executioner” Mr Danglish duly complied with the request.



Here is a rare example of where two different photographic printing processes were used to produce prints from the same negative. Both prints are in excess of 120 years old and have survived remarkably well but the Permanent Chromotype has deteriorated very little since the day it was produced. Albert Sachs used a number of different printing processes over the years perhaps always searching for a solution that he and his customers would be happy with but would also keep him one step ahead of the competition. If the process was patented photographers would have to pay a licence fee and sometimes this would give them exclusivity within a certain geographical area, as was the case with the Permanent Chromotype. The sitter here is Rev Thomas Galland Horton, pastor of Salem Chapel from 1876 though to 1888 when he moved to Portishead, near Bristol.

French Enamelling
Another example of two different printing processes. This time showing French Enamelling.

Two Hand coloured carte de visite portraits by Edmund Wormald of Leeds. Most probably 1860s and most probably coloured by Edmund himself, who was both artist and photographer. Many studios employed colourists, some for example Oliver Sarony went much further and employed some of the most accomplished artists of the Victorian era. Adding colour would add value to the finished product. and the studios could then up-sell from a basic portrait to a hand coloured portrait, or even a portrait painting ,in oil, or watercolour based on the photograph itself. Sometimes using the photograph as a base for the painted portrait.  Sarony was a big character, a showman and a master at up-selling. He would take a portrait in the studio, then showing his client around the rest of the building, and the displays of his work he would then present them at the end of the tour, as if by magic, a full size projected portrait of themselves. He would then try to persuade them to treat themselves to a painted portrait, for their home, or workplace, for which he would charge as much as 150 guineas. Records of some of the transactions are kept in a fascinating daybook stored at Scarborough Library.


Who were Bradford's Straddlebugs ?

After being given an album to research which is connected to the Straddlebugs,  the search is now on to find out who they were, and the significance of the group. Could this be one of the very first photographs taken of the founding members? It was taken by Shepherd Brothers in the early 1880s.

Tracing the history of a Victorian Album

As a slight diversion from the usual research I have started work on a Newcastle photographic album to discover as much as possible about it. With only a few scraps of evidence who could resist the challenge of finding out who the album belonged to and the history of the family. Read more about the journey  Here

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