Becky’s Research

After lunch I retouched two more of the scans of from 1926.

Here we have Mum and Uncles Ben and Roy on the beach at Conwy. It seems to have been essential to wear one’s best clothes, which, in some instances meant school uniform complete with cap.

Considering that this comes from a 5 x 10cm print the best part of 100 years old, I found the clarity of the water and the pebbles beneath it in this image of Mum and Grandma Hunter a tribute to my grandfather’s skill.

Becky has done more research on this portrait of her great grandfather from about 1919, which I also retouched today. Marcus Guttenberg came to the UK in 1851 from Poland via Russia and Germany. He moved to Manchester in 1878. Already a photographer he set up 24 different studios throughout the north of England including Whitby, Harrogate and Bridlington, eventually moving to Bristol where he died in 1891. This postcard portrait bearing the name Guttenberg would not be his work, although it is an example of such.

It may, however, be the work of his son, Percy, who took over the business and became a renowned photographer of theatrical personalities, having fourteen of his portraits in the National Portrait Gallery. On 20th October 1938 he changed his name to Percy Alexander.

My grandfather’s portrait above is certainly of an excellent professional quality.

Elizabeth Hunter, nΓ©e Franks, his grandmother, could, however have been photographed at one of Marcus’s studios, aged about18 in 1885. Her parents ran a trawler fleet in Grimsby at the time, so the location could be right. She married Benjamin Hunter when she was 23.

Becky and I removed the back of the portrait featured in, seeking confirmation of what Mum had told me. There wasn’t much to contradict her information.

This morning Jackie began planting up her new stumpery, The white powder evident on the stumps is an ant killer. When the Head Gardener exposed the nest she was ordered to stand back by her robin, Nugget, while he had his fill before she could apply the insecticide.

While making these photographs I was led to this blue eryngium setting well against the

white everlasting sweet peas.

This afternoon Jackie and I drove to Barton on Sea to catch up with Becky and Ian. Because we had missed them we drove to Old Milton and bought a new landline telephone. When we returned home an apparently displeased Becky rasped: “Where did you get that?” She then produced the one that she and Ian had bought us.

Back we went to the electrical store, obtained a refund, and, following Becky’s advice, bought a Dyson vacuum cleaner.

This evening the four of us dined on second helpings of yesterday’s Indian Takeaway with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Malbec.


  1. You seem to get your photography talent from your ancestors. I like that photo of the children, and you are right about the clarity of the water and stones.
    I’m pleased to know that Nugget is still around, and that Jackie listens to him. πŸ˜‰

  2. Ah ha, the ability to take great photos is in your genes. Those photos really are fabulous and it’s lovely that you also know their provenance.

  3. The photo in which your Mum is posing alongside Grandma Hunter in ankle deep water is certainly a gem that speaks volumes of your grandfather’s skills. I wonder what equipment did he have? The goof up about two landline phones was amusing!

  4. Wonderful old portraits! Fascinating family history. Artistic genes in your lineage. (Like my family’s musical heritage, one cannot get away from genes- and upbringing- it seems.) And families/their stories are interesting to to study.
    I also liked that you bought a Dyson with the refund…always wondered if they are that topnotch!

  5. I love the visual imagery of ‘Jackie’s’ robin ordering her to stand back, ” I’ll take care of this!” before taking his fill of ant snacks. πŸ˜‰

    Excellent work on the B/W images.

  6. Beautiful photos and you are certainly giving them new life, Derrick! πŸ™‚

    OH! I love your Mum’s smile as a little girl! And she still has that sweet smile today! πŸ™‚

    Ha! Little Nugget snacking on the ants! πŸ˜€ That made me laugh! So glad Nugget is being a helper! I love seeing Jackie’s progress with this project! πŸ™‚

    New phone and a new vacuum! Life is good! πŸ˜‰

    HUGS!!! πŸ™‚ and ants…. ? ? ? ? HA! πŸ˜›

  7. Lovely photo’s. There is something about an English garden that is difficult to do over here.
    Dont you love refund policies, so much better now

  8. The portrait of your grandfather is just wow! Actually, the film photo is more artistic for me than digital. I am surprised this old photo is in so good quality and condition.

  9. I had my first glimpses of these pictures on my phone earlier this week and they are even lovelier seen on my (misbehaving) laptop. As others have said, you’ve done a wonderful job of selecting and restoring them. Clearly the fascination with photography is in your genes.

  10. Those darn ants! I battle them in my garden too, I think they may be winning, ha! I popped out to Google Conwy. How amazing that the castle was built in the 13th century and you can still tour there. Have you and Jackie visited too? It sounds beautiful and FYI, the smallest house in all of Great Britain is also there. Now if that isn’t worth seeing, what is? ;D
    Pretty grande to see your relative’s work at the National Portrait Gallery ! Percy’s legacy sounds impressive. Enjoyed my visit tonight Derrick. Hope you and Jackie are keeping cool in the terrible heat there we’ve heard of. Cheers dears xK

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