Saturday 17 August 2013

Black and Tan Terrier in Camberwell

This is a portrait of a Black and Tan (or English Toy Terrier). Before the formation of the Kennel Club in England, Black and Tan's were used in rat pit. In this sport, men would bet on the number of rats, and the speed at which the dog would be able to kill them. One of the smallest and most famous ratters was 5lb "Tiny" who is said to have killed 100 rats in just over 5 minutes.

A rat pit in the 1860's

Looking at the dog in this photograph, with its fancy beaded, necklace-like collar, I think it very unlikely that he or she was used in the pit! In 1882 John Herny Walsh writes of the Black and Tan in his book Dogs of the British Islands:

The black-and-tan English terrier is a very elegant dog, approaching in his symmetry to the greyhound. Skull flat and narrow; eye small and dark; nose black. The ears, if cropped, should be erect, long, and tapering to a fine point. 

The photographer Henry Death, has taken great care with his subject to create contrast between the dark, shiny coat of the dog and the paler, plain backdrop. This effect creates a simple but startling portrait.

The reverse of the mount - the first I have seen noting the business hours

Henry Death was born on 31st of July 1820 son of Alice and William Death in Molton, Cambridgeshire. He married Frances Ann, and together they had four sons and three daughters. Death started his photographic career in 1856, opening a studio in the family home at 5 Addington Place, Camberwell Road, London.

The family resided there until July 16th 1863 when they moved to 119 Camberwell Road where the Black and Tan terrier had his portrait painted. The house & studio was put up for sale in September 1887, because of Death's ill health. Death died in 1900 after a short retirement from photography. We can therefore date the photograph in question to between 1863 and 1887, judging by the simple style of the mount I would date it to the earlier part of this period.

Below is a photograph of 119 Camberwell Road as it is today, the interior retains some of the period features, such as the decorative wooden flooring, which would have been there when it was the home of the Death family.

You may also be interested in reading articles from this website relating to Manchester Terriers -
click here to view.


Wednesday 14 August 2013

The Brighton Spaniel

Posed against a stark, plain backdrop the white body and dark head of this Springer Spaniel really stands out, highlighting the dog's character.

Many types of spaniel were developed in the 19th century, and the English Springer breed was officially recognized by the Kennel Club in 1902 (and the American Kennel Club in 1910). Drury writes about this in his 1903 book on British dogs, saying "The good old English name has been given recently revived by the Kennel Club to designate the old-fashion, medium leg Spaniels of all colours that are neither Clumber nor Sussex Spaniels."

The Springer was described in Harewood's Dictionary of Sport in 1835 thus:

The true English Springer differs little in figure from the Setter, except in size, being nearly two-fifths less in height and strength than the Setter; delicately formed, ears long, soft and pliable, coat waving and silky, tail somewhat bushy and pendulous, and always in motion when actively employed.

The photograph was taken by Ebenezer Pannell. In 1881 there were over 30 photographic studios in Brighton and census information tells us that Ebenezer was working in one of them, by 1883 he was running his own studio. He had a number of different studios throughout the mid-1880s eventually opening up for business at 49 St. George's Road where the Spaniel photograph was taken.

Below is a group portrait of the Pannell Family taken c1890. Ebenezer Pannell, his wife Mary Ann Baker (born c1853), their two children - Ella Mary Pannell (born 1888), and Ebenezer William Pannell (born 1886). Ebenezer's Mother-in-Law, Mrs Mary Baker (born c1820, Hereford) is seated on the right.

Photo from the collection of Peter Cannings Bushell & Erryn Pannell

The Pannell family was a true family of photographers, as three of Ebenzer's four children would go on own and run their own studio's or work as photographic assistants for their father.

  • Sussex Photo History - Ebenezer Pannel, Brighton & Hove Photographer 
  • British Dogs, The Various Breeds, 3rd Edition, 1903 by Drury & Others