NEWS - Henry Sanford Bicknell in Washington DC museum. Clarence's brother.

Written by Marcus Bicknell on .

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I have had a very interesting exchange of emails with the National Gallery of Art Library, Washington, DC, in the USA. They have 3 photos of Cavendish House, Henry Sanford Bicknell's house in Clapham, London...

"The department of image collections at the National Gallery of Art library, Washington DC, has three photographs of Cavendish House, Henry Sanford Bicknell’s home. These photos were purchased several years ago from Harry Lunn Jr. Gallery in Paris.  Additionally, Lambeth Archives has duplicates of these images plus other interior views of Cavendish House that are apparently copy photos from an album (current location of the album is unknown unfortunately). We are trying to ascertain who the photographer of these photos was, and wonder if you would have any information regarding who might have photographed Cavendish House and produced an album for Henry S. Bicknell or his heirs prior to the sale of his art collection.

"A group of photographs by Benjamin Brecknell Turner recently for sale included photographic portraits of Christine and Henry S. Bicknell.  The Bicknells and Turners would have had a connection through their families’ involvement in the tallow chandling business.  One hypothesis is perhaps B.B. Turner, who photographed Henry Bicknell and his wife when they were all young, may have been asked to photograph Cavendish House before it was sold (the NGA photos, which date to the 1880s).   I would greatly appreciate any insight you might have on this theory, or information about the album or the identity of its photographer.  Thank you for your consideration.  "

Later... "BB Turner’s early works are a somewhat different color from our images, deeper and richer, but considering the new process apparently used in our later photos, not surprising.  He was not related to JMW Turner as far as I can tell.  His father was Samuel Turner who was in business with Benjamin Brecknell and produced the famous Brecknell-Turner candles and later, saddle soap.  BB Turner joined the Worshipful Company of Tallow Chandlers in 1837, where, being about the same age as Henry Bicknell, I suspect they would have known one another (BBT born 1815; HSB born 1818). 

"See from the V&A: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/b/benjamin-brecknell-turner-biography/ .

"And here, with permission, are the photos of Henry S. and Christine Bicknell.  Sorry they’re so small, but the original file size is tiny.  These photos are by BB Turner."

Sincerely,  Andrea Gibbs
Deputy Chief and Image Specialist for Architecture
Department of Image Collections, National Gallery of Art Library, Washington, DC
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