Thomas Barnes, Photographer
The most prolific nineteenth century East End photographer was Thomas Barnes, responsible for producing over one hundred thousand portraits taken between 1858 and 1885 at his studio at 422 Mile End Rd in Bow.
Although these cartes de visite are without names, Barnes numbered most of his pictures – enabling us to create a sequence and establish an indication of their dates, as demonstrated by these fine examples selected from Philip Mernick‘s collection gathered over the past twenty years.
Remembered today primarily for his widely-discredited before-and-after photos commissioned by Dr Barnardo, nevertheless Thomas Barnes’ studio portraits reveal a photographer of abundant talent and accomplishment. It is a poignant gallery of withheld emotion, bringing us face to face with anonymous long-dead East Enders who are now inhabitants of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park.
Number 4178 - taken between 1858 & 1864
Number 21236 - 1867
Number 33999 - taken around 1870
Number 34101 - taken around 1870
Number 37432 - taken after 1873
Number 38774 - taken after 1873
Number 41536 - taken mid-1870s
Number 43979 - taken mid-1870s
Number 44425 - taken prior to 1877
Number 47385 - taken prior to 1877
Number 53458 - 1877
Number 56157 - 1877
Number 57248 - 1877
Number 65460 - taken between 1877 and 1880
Number 75384 - taken after 1880
Photographs reproduced courtesy of Philip Mernick
Biographical details of Thomas Barnes supplied by David Webb
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