PHOTOGRAPHERS AND STUDIOS IN DUBLIN
This is an incomplete guide to the photographers carrying out commercial portrait photography in Dublin in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Its primary aim is to help with the dating of old photographs. Street directories, census returns and electoral registers have been used to
try to establish the beginning and end dates for each address. Gaps in the collections of directories consulted mean that it is not accurate
to the exact year, but it is hoped that this will be improved in time.
Beehan & Co.
Beehan & Co., photographers, at 1 Wellington Quay from before 1911. By 1915 it was called the Up-to-Date studio, and the manager was J Edwards.
The listing in 1918 was the same, but in 1920 the proprietor was listed as J Behan, spelt Beehan in the alphabetical listings. In 1924 there
was no studio name, just A. McDonnell, photographer.
16 Henry Street Dublin. Opened in 1912 or 1913, closed in 1916 or 1917.
One photo has embossed letters picked out in silver, on a background of green-and-white decoration
with distinct Art Nouveau motifs. Also a drawing of a seal with a large 'B'. 'Bobs' appears to have been the nickname of the photographer. In 1911
there was a Pierce Brewan, photographer, and Percy Brewan, photographic specialist, listed at this address.
15 D'Olier Street. No connection to the earlier Bobs Studio. Opened some time after 1953; in existence by 1957. By 1974 listed in Thom's Directory
as Bobby Studio, and the photographer was Robert Coleman.
11A Camden Street. A branch of Harry Cowan's Franco-British Portrait Company. At that address from after 1911 to before 1918. Certainly there 1914-1915.
96a Talbot Street, c. 1974. It had been previously been called Spot Light Studio and Stanley's Studios.
55 Lower O'Connell Street. c. 1984. This had been Max Studios until at least 1978.
18 North Earl Street. Not listed 1911-1924.
, Tel 371503. Two photographs known, 1965-1966.
(Messrs Sparkes and Kavanagh), 64 Dawson street, 1913 (Frank P d'Arcy, photographic artist, had been at that address in 1912).
They were gone the following year, but the College Studios were back in operation by at least September 1917, this time at
9 Westmoreland Street. They were not listed in Thom's Directory until 1920 (the proprietor was Robert Sparkes). At some time
between 1930 and 1936, College Studios moved to 31 Westmoreland Street, and remained at that address until at least 1947. By 1951,
they had moved to Robert Sparkes's home address, 3 Victoria Villas, Clontarf, where they continued in operation for the remainder of the 1950s.
Owner of a number of studios in Dublin: the Franco-British Portrait Company, Grafton Studios, Camden-street Studio, Sackville
Portrait Studio, and the Earl Portrait Studio. His brother, Jack, operated the ‘While-U-Wait’ booth on the promenade in Bray during
the summer months. There are separate entries for each of these. Harry Cowan also took photographs in O'Connell Street (helped by Jack in the winter),
standing outside Clerys department store. He used a 35mm movie camera converted to take single shots. Contact prints could be viewed next day at the
studio at 8 North Earl Street, and prints ordered in various sizes mounted in embossed mounts with the studio name.
Opened after 1925 (photo known from c.1926), closed after
1936 but before 1944.
Earl Portrait Studio
8 North Earl Street. Another of Harry Cowan's studios, though he was listed here as a wholesale jeweller. Opened after 1947, in
existence by 1953, still there in 1962, gone by 1974.
31 Derravarragh Road, Terenure. Stamped on a photograph from about 1954. Evidently an individual working from home.
The house was built after 1936 but before 1944. The residents of Derravarragh Road were not listed in the street directory
until after 1951. In 1953 and 1957 the house was listed as occupied by C. Keane.
An on-line discussion mentions
a street photographer called Cornelius (Con) Keane. In 1962-3 there were, again, no individual listings, but in 1974 it
was occupied by Annie Keane.
Practically everyone in Dublin had their photograph taken by Arthur Fields, though they may have known him only as 'The Man on
O'Connell Bridge'. From the 1940s to the 1970s he stood on O'Connell Bridge every day, photographing passers-by. They could collect
the photograph the next day from a studio nearby; in the later years he used a Polaroid camera and could provide instant photographs.
His son has created a website dedicated to him.
43 Brian Rd. Evidently an individual working from home. Stamped on a photograph from the late 1940s. The Fishbourne
family moved in there after 1936 but before 1944. It was listed as occupied by Robert Fishbourne from 1944 until 1957,
and John H. Fishbourne in 1962-3 and 1974. No mention of photography in the directories.
Franco-British Portrait Company or Franco-British Art Studio or Franco Art Studio
Grafton Studios, 111 Grafton Street. Proprietor Harry Cowan. Opened after 1911, definitely there from 1915 to 1920, closed before 1924. Also at:
85 Talbot Street, after 1918 and before 1924 (definitely in January 1922)
Camden-street Studio, 11 Lower Camden Street, from after 1911 to before 1918. Certainly there 1914-1915.
39 Mary Street. This is listed in the directories as Mark Rubinstein, photographer, from after 1911 until after 1924 (definitely there 1915-1924).
46½ Harrington Street, after 1911: Henry Cowan listed in 1915, Franco-British Portrait Co. listed in 1918, 1920 and 1924.
6 North Earl Street, a new shop built after 1920 to replace a building destroyed in 1916. It had opened by 1924.
‘Branches Everywhere’ Photograph taken in about 1916, probably in Dublin. Photo has been trimmed, so no address visible.
In about 1930, Gale's became Jerome's, but there is no record of Jerome's in Dublin until 1949.
Edmund Gilbert Ganly set up a studio in 43 Grafton Street in October 1868, having previously worked as 'principal photographist' to J Simonton
of 70 Grafton Street. He subsequently moved to London, where he is recorded as a photographer's manager in 1888 and a photographer in 1891
M. Glover Ltd.
124 Stephen’s Green. Started in 1882. Census 1901: John James Joseph Glover, 61, photographer, born
in Kinsale, living at 124 St Stephen’s Green. The business lasted until 1909 at this address,
then moved to 41 Lower Gardiner Street for two years, 1910-1911.
In 1891-2 they also had an address at 9 Westmoreland St. Gone by 1929. There had been a photographer called Edgar Adolphe
here in 1878 (not in 1867).In 1911, he was 71 and a widower, still a photographer, living alone at 41 Gardiner Street.
111 Grafton Street. See Franco-British Portrait Company above.
Graves & Co.
T. Graves & Co., jewellers and art photographers at 3 Talbot Street from after 1915 until after 1929 (definitely 1918-1929).
From before 1924 to after 1929, also listed, but only as jewellers, at 36 Henry Street, where Mappins, photographers, had previously
been (and earlier Alex Mitofsky). By 1936 the Henry Street address was gone, and by 1944 the Talbot Street address was also gone.
Henry’s, Photographers, Dublin
Basil Henry photographer, at 54 South King Street in 1944 (since after 1936). Still there in 1957 but gone by 1962-3. He was also at
45 Grafton Street at one stage (date as yet unknown).
See Owl Studio below.
16 Merrion Row, Dublin. We have a photograph from circa 1945, but the directory suggests they started at that address
after 1953 but before 1957.
Still there in 1974.
4 Henry Street. At this address from at least August 1949. Listed in Thom's Directory as ‘S. Jerome.' Jerome was a UK
chain going back to the 1920s—it was originally Gale's Studios—(see
www.photomemorabilia.co.uk/Jerome_Studios.html) but disappearing in the 1950s. It may be significant that until
at least 1953 the Blackpool photographer Charles Howell had the premises next door in No 3. ‘Jerome, S., photographer’
still there in 1962-3, but gone by 1974.
Keogh Bros Ltd.
124 St. Stephen’s Green and 75 Lower Dorset St. The latter address appears to have been the Keogh family home since at
least 1883. When Glover's, of 124 Stephen’s Green, moved out after 1909, Keoghs seem to have taken over.
In the 1911 census return for 75 Lower Dorset Street, Brendan Keogh, the 23-year-old son of retired commercial clerk
John P. Keogh, is listed as a photographer. By 1918 ‘Keogh Bros Ltd, photographic service’ were at 124 St. Stephen’s
Green, and ‘Keogh Bros Ltd premier photographers and picture framers’ at 75 Lower Dorset Street. In 1953 still the same,
but by 1957 the Dorset Street address was vacant. By 1962-3 they were gone from Stephen’s Green also.
5 North Earl Street, over Winstanley's shoe-shop, from after 1911. Definitely there in 1915, and the building was destroyed
in the 1916 Rebellion.
45 Lower Sackville Street. They were at this address and 32 Westmoreland Street from 1865 until 1916 when the Sackville Street
building was destroyed. They remained open for another year at 32 Westmoreland Street, but Lafayettes, who had had a studio at
number 30, moved into 32. It remained Lafayettes until at least 1951, but by 1953 it was The Irish Times.
In the censuses of 1901 and 1911, Peter Dinnette, photographer, was living in 45 Lower Sackville Street his family.
R. H. McCourtney, photographer, 115 Comeragh Road, Drimnagh. Stamped on a photograph from c. 1954. An individual
working from home. The McCourtney family moved in after 1947 but before 1951. Listed as E. McCourtney in 1953,
L. MacCourtney in 1953 and 1957, A. M. Courtney in 1962-3, and Sarah McCourtney in 1974.
Mappin & Co.
At 36 Henry Street in 1920 - a new building replacing one destroyed in 1916 (previously occupied by Alex Mitofsky). By 1924,
Mappins had been replaced by T. Graves & Co., of Talbot Street, who appear to have dealt here as jewellers only. Mappin & Co.
were also at 140 St. Stephens Green [dates not checked yet]
55 Lower O'Connell Street. Opened 1952 or 1953, still there 1978, renamed Cameo Studios by 1984, gone by 1986.
Alex Mitofsky, Vienna Art Studio, 97 Harcourt Street. Photographs from c. 1898 and 1906. The premises had been vacant
in 1896. Listed in the directories for 1908 and 1910. In the 1901 census Alexander Mitofsky, 32, living with his wife,
3-year-old son and housekeeper at 5 Oakfield Place. He was a photographer. He and his wife were both born in Russia, but
his son was born in Dublin City. By 1911 he was living in 3 Homeville and had another son and a daughter. In 1915 he was
at 36 Henry Street. A photograph taken
immediately after the 1916 rebellion clearly shows the shop sign and someone standing at the door. However, the building had
obviously been damaged, as it was listed in 1918 as having been destroyed in 1916, and Alex Mitofsky was now at 85 Heytesbury Street.
By 1920, the shop at 36 Henry Street had been rebuilt and was occupied by Mappin & Co., photographers. By 1924 they had been
replaced by T Graves & Co., jewellers, who also had a photographic business at 3 Talbot Street.
In 1925 Alex Mitofsky was at 9 Mary Street: ‘photo enlarging co., and furniture warehouse.’ The same in 1929, but gone by 1931.
Thomas North, at 43 Ranelagh Road from at least 1860 until about 1864 when he moved to 71 Grafton Street. He moved to number 79 in 1892,
but by 1894 he was in 66½. In 1900 he moved away from Grafton Street to 87 Rathmines Road. In 1906 he moved to 79a Rathmines Road,
and was there until 1908.
Charles Howell opened a studio in Blackpool, Lancashire, in 1913. He had a studio in Belfast by 1918 (possibly 1915). The first record I have him
in Dublin is in June 1928, when he had three addresses: 31 Mary Street, Dublin; 33 North Street, Belfast; and Pleasure Beach, Blackpool. By June
1930 he had moved his Dublin studio to 3 Henry Street, Dublin. In the street directories for 1935 and 1941 it is listed as The Howell Studio, but
a photograph from circa 1936 calls it The Owl Studio. The electoral register for 1939-40 lists Charles Howell at that address with ‘Abode - Blackpool
England’ [see Blackpool below]. In the 1948 directory it is ‘Charles Howell, the Owl Studio’. Still there in 1953, but S. Jerome already next door in
No. 4. Gone by 1957.
A. Robertson, 3 Grafton Street. From 1865, John Robertson & Co, bookseller, publisher and photographer.
In 1884, Alex. Robertson, stationer. Then Alex. Robertson, photographer, until 1892
65 Grafton Street. There from before 1860 until 1910. No-one resident on Census night, 1901/1911.
25 Upper Sackville Street. This was being built in 1883. Gregory Sheils, photographer, was there in 1891, 1894, 1896.
In 1901, Gregory Sheils, photographer, 67, was living at 4 Rutland St Upper with his wife and two daughters, 14 and 21:
both girls were photographers. In 1908 and 1909 24 Upper Sackville Street was the Gresham Studio: Wm. C. Brownrigg,
photographer. In 1910 Roe McMahon, photographer. In 1911 Henry Roe McMahon (31) was living at 12 Emerald Square with
his aunt (Elizabeth Roe), his sister Margery A. Ashby and his brother Charles A. McMahon. The latter two were
photographers, but HRMcM was a portrait artist. There was a William Brownrigg (70), retired chemist, living in Eccles St
South. In 1901 he and his family, including his 18-year-old son William C Brownrigg, had lived at 4 Benedict Terrace.
Roe McMahon, photographer, was at 25 Sackville Street, Upper, and had a full page advertisement in Thom's Directory. By 1925,
Roe McMahon, photographic agent, dealer and importer, was at 11 Harcourt Street. By 1944 he had added ‘wireless
dealer’. Same entry in 1953, but gone by 1957.
54 Grafton Street, Dublin According to the company’s website, they were established in 1929. A photograph dated to
1930 is captioned: ‘Shadowgraph Portrait by J. Ross, 54 Grafton Street, Dublin’. There had been no photographer at
this address in 1929, but ‘J. Ross, photographer’ was listed in 1931. By 1936, Ross Studios were at 3 St. Stephen’s
Green. They were still there in 1974, but have since returned to Grafton Street, No 59, as
Edmund Ross Studios.
39 Mary Street, c. 1915-1924. See the Franco-British Portrait Company above.
Sackville Portrait Studio
15 Lower Sackville Street, (after 1922 more commonly referred to as Lower O’Connell Street). From 1944,
listed in the directories as 'SACKVILLE PORTRAIT STUDIOS: photographers, jewellers opticians and general fancy goods.
Cowan, H., photographer'. In around 1933 he seems to have also owned the ‘While-U-Wait’ booth on the promenade in Bray
(see below). He had previously owned the Franco-British Portrait Company (see above). In the 1940s, a street photographer
attached to the Sackville Studio was taking photographs in O'Connell Street. Photos could be collected from the studio.
In 1947 he was using a cine camera and printing from the best frame - both sides of his ticket are reproduced
in this discussion.
Spot Light Studio
A. Blake, photographer, 96a Talbot Street. Opened after 1974, in existence by 1951. Directory listing the same, but by 1962
it had been renamed Stanley's Studios, and by 1974 it was Cameo Studios.
96a Talbot Street, c. 1962. It had been called Spot Light Studio until at least 1957, and by 1974 it was Cameo Studios.
Technicolour studios (colouring)
5 North Earl Street, Dublin, 1945+. This was a small (perhaps one-man) business apparently operating out of the office
of the Irish Film Society, hand-tinting black-and-white photographs.
2 Warrington Place, Lr Mount St, Dublin. Not there in 1896; by 1908 ‘Thomas Tyndall, photographer’. Also there in 1910
but gone by 1925. By then Thomas Tyndall was in 46 Lower Mount Street. There was no mention of photography, so they may
no longer have been in business. Thomas Tyndall was listed at that address until at least 1957. By 1962-3 his sister
Ellen was listed there, and by 1974 the building had been demolished. In 1901, at the time of the census, the Tyndalls
had already been living at 2 Warrington Place. The head of the household was Mrs. Mary Anne Tyndall, a widow. The eldest
son, Thomas (26) appears to have been a court clerk, but his brother, James (21), was a photographer. Their sister, Mary
Anne (22) was a seamstress. The other sister, Ellen, was 18 but had, as yet, no occupation. Ten years later, in 1911,
old Mrs. Tyndall was still there but James, the photographer, was now the head of the household. Mary Anne was the
receptionist and Ellen worked as a retoucher. Thomas, although listed in the directories as a photographer, was actually
a clerk in Green Street courthouse.
1 Wellington Quay. Had this name from after 1915 to before 1924. See Beehan & Co. above.
While U Wait
The While U Wait Promenade Portrait Studios (the Boat House), at the 45 bus stop, Bray. Operated by Jack Cowen, the brother of
Harry Cowen (see above). Jack's son, Maurice, writes: 'The Bray studio was only open during the summer months between May and September
to cater for the many visitors who came mainly from all over the UK and the US. When various US naval ships visited Dublin, I remember
lots of sailors on shore leave having their photo taken on the promenade, usually with a girl they had met in the city and gone out with
on a day trip to Bray.' In existence by 1933.
His address is given as 44 North Street, Belfast, on a photograph which must have been taken between October 1915 and March 1918. He also had a studio in Blackpool, and by 1928 in Dublin. By then he had changed his Belfast address to 33 North Street.
Opened a studio at Bank Hey Street, Blackpool in 1913. In the 1920s he opened another studio at Pleasure Beach. By 1928 he is described as the Official Photographer of Pleasure Beach. He was there until at least 1939 (see 'Charles Howell, Photographer of Pleasure', by Colin Harding, in Photographica World 2008/3, 16-19). He also owned
the Owl Studio in Dublin, c1928-c1953 (see above). From at least 1918 to at least 1928 he also had a studio in Belfast.
Arthur Forrester, Woolworths, Blackpool. One silhouette from 1932. An alternative to photography was to have your
silhouette taken. This seems to have been especially popular in seaside resorts. A silhouettist was an artist who used
black paper and scissors to cut out your profile while you waited. Arthur Forrester was one of the best-known in the
1920s and 30s. He later worked in Brighton. A film of him
at work can be seen on the British Pathé website.
61 Talbot Road, Blackpool. Stamped on a photograph with the date 2 August 1936. There is a photograph from the same studio
posted on Flickr, dated 1938.
While U Wait
'While U Wait Promenade Portrait Studios 117, 165 and 187 Wellington Terrace Promenade BLACKPOOL’ 1932, 1941.
28 Walworth Road SE17. Photograph dated 2 August 1945.
Thaddeus C. Breen
Any information which will help improve this list is very welcome. Thanks to the many people who have already been in touch. firstname.lastname@example.org
Last revised 27 September 2013