An Odd Coincidence!

coincidence 1

The above photograph was sent to me by Val Erde (with grateful thanks!). Val saw the photograph of John Lovekin and Alice Dean in my previous post and it reminded her of this postcard, which has been part of her own collection for some time.

Here is a reminder of the photograph in my blog post:

John Lovekin & Alice Dean small

The likeness between the two couples is uncanny, don’t you think? Val and I have speculated that they might even be the same people! I have to tell you, it sent shivers up my spine when I saw it, because that would be a coincidence indeed. Particularly as the Lovekin photographs in my possession have lain unseen for many years, and have not passed through anyone else’s hands.

coincidence 2
The back of Val’s postcard

Close inspection is needed to determine if the likeness is real or superficial. So far, much as I would love it to be John and Alice in Val’s photograph, we are both agreed that ‘the jury is out’. So we would welcome your opinions and observations.

Here is the lady on the postcard, alongside Alice Dean from the various photographs that I have of her. Obviously there is an age difference. Alice Dean was born in 1865 and the portrait second from left is the only one with a date (1923), making Alice 57 or thereabouts:

alice comparison

If I understand correctly, postcards with a divided back were first introduced in the UK around 1902. If this is Alice Dean, then she would be at least 37 years old in Val’s photograph, with a possible twenty year difference between the first two images.

For me, the most striking similarities are the glasses, the centre parting (in the first two photographs), face shape and the thin upper lip. A major difference lies in the eyes, although this might be due to squinting into the sun? The ears look different too.

Next, I have placed the man from Val’s postcard alongside portraits of John Lovekin. It is much more difficult to make a comparison this time, not least because two of the portraits come from grainy newspaper images. Plus, the cap has shaded John’s eyes in the second image:

comparison john

Similarities are beard, face shape and nose. Differences include the eyebrows, which appear to slope upwards to the bridge of the nose in the case of John Lovekin, though it might only be the deep shadows giving this impression. Val pointed out that the ears look quite different, with John Lovekin’s right ear appearing to have a pronounced dent in it. Left and right ears can differ on the same person though, so again this isn’t conclusive.

When putting these photo montages together, I spent some time overlaying all of the faces and was struck by how accurately the proportions seem to ‘fit’. Nose length, distance between eyes and general face shape are all very similar.

Unfortunately, the handwriting on the back of the postcard doesn’t provide any clues, being quite dissimilar to the limited amount of writing on the back of Lovekin related documents and photographs.

Thank you again, Val, for contacting me with your photograph.

Have we missed anything? Val and I would love to know what you think!

Grannie Alice Dean

Grannie Peggy Jack Brian
Written on the reverse: Grannie, Peggy, Jack & Brian

I began to look closely at faces in the photographs, in an effort to make sense of the information I was gathering. The lovely old photograph above has ‘Grannie, Peggy, Jack & Brian’ written on the reverse. Useful, but who exactly are they? Luckily, this particular Grannie appears in several other photographs too, and the man next to her in the image below shares a strong likeness with John Lovekin b1859:

John Lovekin & Alice Dean comparison
Unnamed photograph of ‘Grannie’, plus close up of the man & scan of John Lovekin from a named newspaper article

Could this Grannie be Alice Dean, wife of John Lovekin? If so, she was born 1865 in Sheriffhales, Shropshire, and is present (with her husband) on the 1939 census in nearby Shifnal.

Among the documents in this collection is a newspaper clipping for the funeral of Mr Alfred Tucker, dated July 1939. Alfred was the husband of Alice Dean’s eldest daughter, Annie, and the names ‘Peggy Tucker (daughter)’ and ‘Jack and Brian’ are mentioned in his obituary. These are the names on the original photograph. Going back to the family tree, the grandchildren of Alice Dean that best fit these names are shown below. Note that ‘Peggy’ is often used as the diminutive of the name Margaret, ‘Jack’ the diminutive of John, and I am willing to bet that the initial ‘B’ in William B. Lovekin’s name stands for ‘Brian’!

Therefore the photograph at the top of this post dates from around 1933 to 1934, with Alice Dean nearly 60 years old when it was taken.

Lovekin tree 3

A further interesting photograph is the one below, described on the back as ‘4 generations, 1923’. The woman on the left is almost certainly a younger Alice Dean, and I initially assumed the older woman to be her mother, Margaret Evans, born around 1828. However there is a death record for a ‘Margaret Dean’ in 1922, registered in Shifnal, Shropshire. Perhaps I have the wrong death, or perhaps the date on the photograph is wrong? In my eyes at least, Alice and the older woman share a likeness. Further investigation is required!

four generations 1923
Written on the reverse: 4 generations, 1923

The younger woman is possibly Annie Lovekin, with her daughter Peggy (Margaret Lucy Tucker). I think it is a charming image, and I can’t help but wonder who the woman in the background is?

Lastly, here is a later image of Alice Dean with an (as yet) unidentified woman:

Possibly Alice Dean (R)

I would hazard a guess that it was taken in the mid 1950s, with Alice in her 80s at the time. The window on the left is the same style as that in the photograph taken with husband John Lovekin, and it may also be the same house in the ‘4 generation’ photograph. John and Alice lived at Crackley Bank, Shifnal and from the few images I have seen and shared here, it appears to have been a very happy home indeed.

Arrighi Portraits

Staying with the Arrighi family, these portraits and photographs are all labelled. I won’t say too much about them, but would love to receive contact from anyone who is interested, recognises or is related to this family!

Some of the images are clickable, for larger versions.

William Hunter Arrighi (b.1910)

William Hunter Arrighi cropped

William Hunter Arrighi small

Middle son of James Arrighi (see previous post), the inscription on the back of this portrait says WA – Taken in Rugby – age about 19. He is easily recognisable from the family photograph, which must have been taken around the same time.

James Norman Louis Arrighi (b.1908)

James Norman Louis Arrighi cropped

James Norman Louis Arrighi portrait

The eldest of the three sons of James Arrighi, the inscription on the back simply says Norman Arrighi. It was taken by S H Greenway of Northampton and, like his brother above, Norman is easily recognisable from the family photograph in my previous post.

Another portrait (below) shows Norman at a slightly older age.

James Norman Louis Arrighi portrait

Mr Arrighi

Mr Arrighi

Mr Arrighi - back of photo


Copied from a photograph, this print is mounted on a large board and bears a sticker for J. C. Matheson, Chemist, 27 Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh. The pencilled writing is difficult to read, but having searched the newspaper archives my best guess would be Mr Arrighi – 44 Merchiston Avenue. The address was first occupied by Louis John Arrighi b.1863 (brother of James Arrighi) and later by his son, Frederick Wilson Brown Arrighi b.1906. I think it likely that Mr Arrighi is in fact Fred(erick), who can be found at Merchiston Avenue in the British Telephone Directories during the late 1920s and 1930s.

I think he bears more than a passing resemblance to his cousins above, don’t you?


Information was gathered from the British Newspaper ArchiveAncestry and Scotland’s People.


Isabella Arrighi (but which one?)

Isabella Arrighi Portrait

Isabella Arrighi Portrait - Photographer

This is probably one of my favourite portraits and, like the previous portrait of Louis Arrighi, was taken by the studio of Scottish photographer John Campbell Harper. From the fashion of the day (the dress and hairstyle) I would estimate the date as mid-1910s. The ‘Campbell Harper’ studio started life in Leith Walk around 1908, so this date would be consistent.

The inscription on the back of the photograph identifies the sitter as Isabella Arrighi, born 1894 and therefore around 20 to 25 years old. Hmm. With no disrespect, I suspect the lady in the portrait was older than this.

Isabella Arrighi Portrait - Writing

So is the inscription wrong?

A little research shows there were several Isabellas in the Arrighi family.

The Isabella Arrighi identified by the inscription was grand-daughter of Louis Arrighi and daughter of Louis’ eldest son, Louis John Arrighi (b.1863). But in my view, she can be discounted on the basis of being too young.

Louis Arrighi’s wife was also called Isabella. Born in 1841, she died in 1910 prior to the likely date of this photograph. So she can also be discounted.

Another Isabella Arrighi was daughter of Louis’ older brother, Leopoldo Arrighi. She was born around 1862 in Edinburgh, although a precise age is difficult to obtain due to her shaving a few years off as the decades went on! She died in 1939 and would have been in her fifties during the 1910s.

Lastly, Louis’ own daughter was called Isabella Richardson Arrighi. She was born in 1869 and died (unmarried) in 1929, being buried with her parents at Comely Bank Cemetery, Edinburgh. During the 1910s she would have been in her forties and in my opinion is the most likely candidate for this portrait, not only because of her age, but also because I found the portrait alongside that of Louis Arrighi (see previous blog post).

There could of course be other Isabella Arrighis’ I have yet to come across.

This all begs the question as to why the inscription is incorrect? And also acts as a warning against taking any named photograph at face value. A small amount of research can go a long way, although it can also muddy the waters!

Isabella Arrighi Portrait - front & back

Names and dates were obtained from and Scotlands People, but should only be used as guidance.

Louis Arrighi b.1836

Louis Arrighi 1836-1919

This portrait is identified on the back as ‘Grandpa Arrighi an Italian / Benedetto Louis Arrighi 1836-1919‘ in two different pens and styles of handwriting. It is signed by J. Campbell Harper of Leith (near Edinburgh, Scotland).

Louis Arrighi 1836-1919 (writing)

J Campbell Harper, Leith (photographer)

Louis Arrighi married Isabella Richardson in 1859 in Edinburgh, where they lived throughout their married life. Both Louis and Isabella are buried at Comely Bank Cemetery.

Searching the newspaper archives I came across an article in the Dundee Courier (Tuesday 16 December 1952) which mentions ‘Louis Arrighi, the young Italian who arrived in Scotland to seek his fortune‘. The article goes on to say that ‘he undertook work on the Wallace Monument at Causewayhead, Stirling, and the Wallace Statue, Aberdeen‘. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to confirm this claim, although the censuses do list his occupation as ornamental plasterer and, later, sculptor.

I have more Arrighi family portraits to share, and hope to discover more about Louis as I go along!

Louis Arrighi 1836-1919 (portrait)

Louis Saul Langfier (Photographer)

Louis Saul Langfier - Dancer - Crop1

Some photographs take me on a journey and this is one of them. It is a softly focussed image of a dancer holding a painted tambourine. It immediately makes me think of the 1920s (although it could be earlier) and is mounted on thin, textured card with the photographer’s name embossed on the lower right.

When my daughter, who studies Dance, saw this photograph she drew my attention to the early 20th century American dancer Isadora Duncan, who developed a free and natural dance style inspired by the Greek arts and folk dance. The style came to be known as modern dance, and included floorwork unlike classical ballet. The dancer in the photograph obviously fits this genre, with loose clothing and a pose reminiscent of Duncan, though unfortunately there is nothing on the photograph to identify who she is.

Happily the photographer can be identified a little more easily. Or so it seems! Although faint in places, the embossed name contains the words Louis and Edinburgh and comparison to other online images confirms it to be Louis Saul Langfier (1871 – 1948):

Louis Saul Langfier - Dancer

photo - dancer photographer

Louis Saul Langfier was one of a family of Langfiers, including brother Adolph, all working in the photographic trade with their businesses often overlapping. One particular family member Louis Langfier gained success in London, being located in prestigious Old Bond Street and boasting patronage by the Royal Family (The Sketch – Wednesday 26 June 1901):

Image © Illustrated London News Group

During an interview published in The Sketch, Louis states that he joined his ‘nephew’ L. S. Langfier at ‘the firm in Glasgow’ in around 1896. Indeed, Louis Saul Langfier was named alongside ‘uncle’ Louis Langfier in The Edinburgh Gazette, 14 Oct 1898, as co-owner of Langfier and Langfier & Co., 158 Sauchiehall St, Glasgow. According to the interview above, ‘uncle’ Louis then left Scotland in 1899 to set up a London firm, leaving Louis Saul to look after the Glasgow studio.

All was not completely rosy however, since in 1905 the estates of Louis Saul, including the Glasgow address, were sequestrated/closed (Aberdeen Press and Journal – Wednesday 26 July 1905):

Aberdeen Press and Journal - Wednesday 26 July 1905Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Perhaps Louis Saul Langfier had hit hard times? Or perhaps he simply wished to spend his energies looking after his own company ‘Louis Saul Langfier Ltd’, newly located in Edinburgh (The Scotsman – Friday 01 April 1904)?

1904 The Scotsman - Friday 01 April 1904Image © Johnston Press plc

By 1908 the Edinburgh company was advertising ‘the most beautiful works in colour’ and appealing for attention from Art Connoisseurs (The Scotsman – Saturday 24 August 1907):

1907 The Scotsman - Saturday 24 August 1907Image © Johnston Press plc

Thus at first glance Louis Saul appears to have made a success of his second Scottish endeavour, with the firm known as ‘Louis Saul Langfier Ltd’ existing in Edinburgh until it’s liquidation in 1929.

So it wasn’t until I stumbled upon a rather unpleasant newspaper article in the Sunday Post, dated 1919, that I realised the situation was more complicated than I first supposed (Sunday Post – Sunday 02 March 1919):

Sunday Post - Sunday 02 March 1919 titleImage © D.C.Thomson & Co. Ltd. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

Pushing the racist overtones to one side, the article asserts that German photographer Carl Henrich T Shmidt is ‘manager and principal shareholder in the high class photographic business of Louis Saul Langfier Limited at 60 Princes Street (Edinburgh)’. Furthermore, it states that Mr Schmidt had been the principal shareholder of the firm since 1910 or thereabouts.

Which begs the question… where was Louis Saul Langfier after Mr Schmidt took over the Edinburgh studio?

I have a theory, as suggested by entries in the British Telephone Directory archives. In 1910 and 1911, ‘S. Langfier’ is listed as Artist & Photographer in James St., Harrogate (Yorkshire). And from 1913 to 1921, a photographer by the same name is listed at three different London addresses. The name possibly refers to Samuel Langfier, father of Louis Saul and Adolph, who died in 1919 aged 78. But I think it likely that the two sons, particularly Louis Saul, were in fact running these businesses.

Supporting this, Adolph’s name is quoted in relation to the bankruptcy of the Harrogate firm (Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer – Wednesday 20 July 1910):

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Wednesday 20 July 1910 bankruptaYorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Wednesday 20 July 1910 bankruptbImage © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

And Louis Saul is living at one of the London addresses, 115 Queen’s Road, Westminster, according to the 1919 Electoral Register for London.

Finally, another of the London addresses, 123 Victoria Street, Westminster, is associated with Louis Saul’s wife, Pearl Lyndon, who herself is a fascinating character with a complicated story (and the subject of my next blog post).

Which brings me back to the photograph of the dancer at the top of this post. Should we just assume it to be the work of Louis Saul Langfier, because of the embossed signature? Or would it be better to attribute this work (and presumably many others) to photographer Carl H T Schmidt? After all, credit where credit is due!

Newspaper clippings courtesy of the British Newspaper Archive; The British Library Board. Further research carried out using Ancestry and The Gazette.

Any mistakes are my own! Please feel free to contact me with corrections/further information.



Mr & Mrs Alf Dodgeon

Portrait of Elizabeth Colbert 1906Portrait of Elizabeth Colbert 1906 (inscription)
1906 – Wishing you a Happy & Prosperous New Year – From Mr & Mrs Alf Dodgeon

This charming portrait is housed in an oval cardboard frame, which is signed (more clearly on the original) ‘Mr & Mrs Alf Dodgeon’. When I see an unusual name such as this I give a little cheer, since it makes identification so much more likely.

A quick search of the census brings up very few candidates, with only one Alf(red) Dodgeon of roughly the correct age. Born in Nelson, Lancashire, Alfred and his family can be found on the 1911 census living in Burnley. He was 55 at the time and working as a cotton manufacturer. He and his wife Elizabeth (Colbert) had been married for 29 years and of their five children, three had reached adulthood.

In the course of scouring the internet for information I came across several references to Alfred’s interest in photography. He appears to have won prizes in competition and even had a photograph published in The Amateur Photographer magazine, 1907 (vol.46, pg.313). All of which makes me wonder if he took this lovely photograph of his wife himself?

Nelson Leader - Friday 17 June 1932Image © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

Alfred retired from his workplace Carrington and Dewhurst Ltd in 1932, as reported in the Nelson Leader (Friday 17 June). I hope he was able to indulge more time in his photographic hobby – it would be wonderful to see other examples of Alfred’s work, if any exist!

Newspaper clipping courtesy of the British Newspaper Archive; The British Library Board. Further research carried out using Ancestry and Lancashire BMD.

Two Weddings and Several Babies

photo - india - wedding 3 cropped

More photographs from the same batch as my previous post. The one above is just 5x5cm, and is very pretty in its tiny format. It wasn’t until I scanned and enlarged it that I saw the face of the girl on the left, who looks none-too-happy to be there!

Another wedding below, earlier in date and possibly in India. Note the military uniform and the carnation worn by the groom. I wonder if these were the only photographs taken, or if there were more formal ones too?

photo - india - wedding 1 croppedphoto - india - wedding 2 cropped

I have already mentioned that the condition of many of these photographs is poor, with a lot of mottling and discolouration. The paper is thin and the finish is matte on most of them. I’m amazed that anyone even managed to peel them from an album (in which they seem to have been firmly glued) without further damage.

And finally to the babies… sat outside on a rug, enjoying the warmth. And two dogs and two goats.

Did I mention the goats?!

photo - india - babies 2 croppedphoto - india - babies 1 cropped


Cabinet Card by Holgate, Burnley

cabinet card - holgate small

I just have to share this cabinet card of a beautiful young woman staring directly into the camera. Taken by photographer James Holgate of Bridge End Studio, Burnley, it probably dates to the 1880s, the period in which Mr. Holgate was most active. Unfortunately there are no clues as to the identity of the woman (the reverse of the card is blank). To my eyes she resembles ‘Mary (Patsy) Cornwallis West‘, although this could simply be due to the fashion of the time.

Any thoughts appreciated!