T B HUTTON - PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER
On the 1851 Census, at the age of 22 Thomas B was a Merchant Clerk based in Birmingham, while his sister, Mary M, aged 25 was a 'Student At The Birmingham School of Design.'
He married Ellen Randell from Guernsey (estimated birth year 1832) , and they came back together with their two children William Hugh (Age 4, 1861 Census - April 2nd) and Ellen Mary (Age 2, 1861 Census - April 2nd) to the Island sometime after April 1856 and before April 1859. Both these children were born in England.
Ellen and Thomas had other children whilst in Guernsey:-
Elizabeth Amy -Born 9th December 1859
Albert Randell - Born 30th November 1863
George - Born 23rd September 1865
Robert - Born 29th July 1869
Frank Septimus - Born 26th December 1870
In the 1861 Census Thomas B is listed as already practicing as a 'Photographic Artist' and living at 2 Rohais Road, Belview Terrace (possibly just residential accommodation) - the author at the time of writing has not seen any other documentation about this address - previously it was believed his photographic business started at 10 Grange Road, St Peter Port. He then moved to Candie Road, St Peter Port, and sometime in the mid 1870's he operated from Manor Place, Smith Street, St Peter Port.
In the 1861 Census, no trace can be found of Thomas's parents, but his sister Mary M, is listed as being 36, and living in London with an occupation of 'Ex Private Teacher'
In 1881 Census Thomas is still listed as living in Guernsey and also being a 'Photographic Artist'. Previous research by other persons has intimated he left Guernsey in the same year and moved to Jersey and after a few years travelled to Birmingham. Further research needs to be done. What is known as fact is that he sold Jersey and Sark images while he was based in Guernsey. Also he marketed many Jersey stereo views with a Jersey address 'Photographed by T.B. Hutton, Hillside House, Beaumont, Jersey.
T B Hutton is well known for his excellent stereo views, but what is not so well known is that he also produced cdv's (carte de visite's) plus small and large albumen's for placing in a customers own photo albums. Like the stereo views, the cdv's are well marked with his name, so there is no room for the photographs origin being mistaken, however, like the majority of photographers in the early years of the craft, by not labelling their loose images, it is difficult without research to recognise the originator - in certain cases it may never be proved beyond doubt and it is dangerous to attribute without substantial evidence.
The author currently believes from studying the design of the cdv backs and the clothing of the sitters, that T B Hutton first started work as a portrait photographer either at 2 Rohais Road, Belview Terrace (maybe just a residential address) or more likely at his ' GUERNSEY PHOTOGRAPHIC STUDIO - T.B. HUTTON 10 GRANGE Rd.', he then subsequently developed into a landscape photographer which included his well known stereo views .
Some carte de visites and also some early stereo views do not have his 10 Grange Road address on the back, only - 'T.B HUTTON GUERNSEY PHOTOGRAPHIC STUDIO'. One explanation for the lack of address could be could be that he sold some through an agency/agencies for distribution in Guernsey, Jersey and in the UK. The author has one stereo view with the wording 'Sole Agent J. MILLINGTON, BOOKSELLER, GUERNSEY' crossed out printed under his name and another with a paper sticker stuck over his name declaring, ' Mrs G. WARDLEY FANCY DEPOSITORY 30 Halkett-place, St Helier, Jersey.' which may add some credence to this theory, but not much! Strangely all of his cdv's except for the earliest ones carry a version of a Royal crest but none of his stereo views do.
Carte de Visites dating around the mid 1860's onwards have the Royal crest plus sometimes the wording 'UNDER THE PATRONAGE OF HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN - this could tenuously be connected in some way with Queen Victoria's second visit on August 14th 1859, or maybe an order received for some Guernsey views in the mid 1860's which seems to be more plausible date wise.
Of all the photographers who produced Guernsey and Sark stereo view cards for sale in Guernsey, Thomas Hutton was the most successful. Like most professionals he streamlined his operation as explained in the next few paragraphs.
The earliest Hutton stereo view seen to date by the author that has been contemporarily written on in ink by a customer is 1867, this does not mean they were not produced earlier.
It has been confirmed by research that although he may have had other cameras, he definitely used one 8" x 5" camera for his known three types of image ( CDV, Stereo-View and normal albumen print). T.B. Hutton appears to have done no enlarging from his negatives to make his images; they were all contact prints from the glass negative. A basic explanation of the procedure is explained below.
If a large image was required, a lens board with a suitable focal length single lens would be placed on the camera which was always mounted on a tripod, the scene composed, carefully focused and the photograph would be taken covering the full image area of 8" x 5". This would give a slightly small print to cancel out any edge marks and aberrations. His whole negative print size is known to be 7.5" x 4.5".
If a stereo image was to be taken in the same position, the tripod would not be disturbed; the camera would then be fitted with a septum for stereo work, the single lens board removed and another lens board with a two lenses fitted. Both lenses were refocused and the new image taken.
For a cdv all that was needed was for T B was to chose the most suitable image from the stereo pair and cut the contact print to suit his composition. Due to the size of each stereo pair, if the image was taken and developed well, (approx. 4" x 5" in size), there was much room to manoeuvre with composition even though the outer edges of the negative could be dicey sometimes due to possible bad lens coverage.
As previously mentioned, the original stereo negatives were much larger than the end printed cdv or stereo view image, this was a planned operation especially for the stereo view image as it gave the best options available to the professional photographer, for if done properly it would give a fantastic 3D image, if done badly sales would suffer. This was trial and error work, all done manually - no Photoshop or Stereophotomaker to rely on then! In most cases T B Hutton got it right. The procedure was to find the best relationship between each stereo pair for the view intended and cut out manually. Each pair of Hutton's cut down stereo images were approximately 3"square. With over 4" x 5" to play with on the original image, the scope for manipulating the best stereo image was wide.
Camera lens design in the 1860's/70's could be suspect unless the lens was stopped right down ( to give better resolution), not to mention lack of coverage on the edges of the glass plate, especially if a rising or falling front was used.
8" x 5" was one of the standard formats for a stereo view taking and ideal for the standard stereo view card size. A cdv was about 104mm x 60mm in size (French origin), with Hutton's pasted albumen image size varying, but usually being about 3.5" x 2.5" in imperial. Again these were cut down in size from one side of a stereo negative and the albumen photo was laid out to give the best image composition. Sometime a cdv would be marketed in landscape and portrait format at the same time if the image suited both styles. - the most popular would be proven in sales. Due to the larger negative different compositions were also marketed and could be tried and tested.
It is impossible to catalogue a numerical list of Thomas Hutton's stereo views even though there is a printed number space on the back as in most cases he never filled the number in! latterly he dispensed with the printed number stamp completely.
From time to time there are albumen images stuck down on paper that come onto the market place which could possibly be Thomas Hutton's work, but like any photographer of the day, no provenance can be proven without the same image being on record as a named cdv or stereo view. The author has a database of named cdv's and stereo views for research purposes, but it is nowhere near complete and will never be - any help with sending information on landscape cdv's or stereo views would be gratefully received.
The above research is not complete and would need extended time to carry it further - any extra information will gladly be received.