Friday, 12 August 2016

Researching Antiques

What is it?

Sometimes the first question we have to ask when we uncover something new in the building is, 'What is it?'

Some designs haven't changed much over the years and so it is easy to recognise an old tripod or a film canister. Other times it's not as obvious.
This is our latest find:

We think we have it the right way up as there are castors still attached on one side. You can see the other set of castors on the floor which are made of iron.

Here it is close up:

E. & H. T. Anthony & Co.
Embossed on the iron is E. & H. T. Anthony & Co. / New York. The company ran from 1862 to 1902 when it merged with the Scovill and Adams Company and became Ansco. E. & H. T. Anthony & Company was the largest supplier and distributors of photographic supplies in the United States during the 19th century (see Wikipedia).
You can see a catalogue of their equipment online here but nothing matches up to the piece above.

Our best guess is an easel probably used for enlarging prints by mural printing. We're not, however, entirely confident in this and would love some help in identifying its use.
Some detailed images might help!

The hooks running down the edges are locked in place and there is a bracket on top of each side. We are assuming the sides would be joined together. There are cogs and teeth and a sort of keyhole cover too:

If you have any ideas please share them. It would be a great restoration project for us.
Thank you!
Comment or email us on

Friday, 10 June 2016

Derby Local Heritage

We were delighted to have a stand at this years 40th anniversary Derby Family History Festival held at Derby Central Library.
We were bowled over by the number of people attending and their enthusiam and send our thanks to the Derbyshire Family History Society.
We were able to talked about our archives and chat with many Derby people whose experience of family photography at Winters goes back a generation or two. We shared many of our original Carte de Visite and discussed our restoration services and the emotional value we place on old family photos. It was lovely to share the sense of family treasures!
Jane and Joanna at the Derby Family History Festival
We also started taking bookings for our FREE heritage tours as part of Heritage Open Days in September  2016 when we hope to be opening up a whole new room to the public for the first time!
As always these events involving the public are what make heritage a joy so do book on a tour with us (details can be found on our website
A Winters original Carte de Visite taken at Midland Road Derby
A Winters original photograph of Derby Central Library

Friday, 6 May 2016

The Iloca Stereogram

Look what we found this week!
A new old camera in our collection - an Iloca Stereo-Rapid.
Iloca produced cameras between 1948 and 1960 and the Stereo-Rapid (also known as Stereograms) came around from 1955.
On the front of the camera you can see 3D engraved into the metal. These wonderful cameras produced two images simultaneously which when viewed together created a 3D effect. The camera was used at Winters during weddings especially for the 'confetti shot'.
We haven't come across any stereoscopic prints yet but there is a current trend to turn stereoscopic images in to GIF files (images that move, like a short video). Here is a great example we found on
Is shows you the 3D effect achieved from having the same image taken from fractionally different angles via the two seperate lenses on the camera.

We also found a copy of the manual online, so know we have relearned how to use it we might just have to have a go! It will be on display with our other cameras for Heritage Open Days 2016.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Skilled Artworkers

Studio and Gallery

Walter William Winter advertised himself as as Artist in Photography. We are so used to being able to snap a photo on a camera or phone that we forget the artistry involved in producing a beautiful portrait. Winter came from a family of artists so it was natural for him to see photography as an art form. As such he fashioned his studio on Midland Road as a gallery including photography, landscape paintings and decorated ceramics. You can see the artworks on display in early photographs of the studio:

Art worker's Equipment

Photographs were originally retouched (altered and improved) directly on to the glass negative. Pencil marks would be used to smooth out a sitters skin, lightening under the eyes and contouring cheeks. To do this, art workers would use a range of pencils like the ones below.

This set was produced by the art supplies company Rowney & Co Ltd, who merged with Daler in 1983 to form Daler-Rowney.

Photographs could also be hand tinted prior to the development of colour printing. Usually printed in sepia, watercolour paints were then hand painted onto the photograph to produce a gently coloured image. At Winters both pans and tubes were used:

It is not known whether ceramics were hand painted at the studios. Winter would have seen the opening of Royal Crown Derby at its Osmaston Road site in 1877. However, we do have a gorgeous set of ceramic paints in the Winters collection dating from between 1859 and 1897.

The colour swatch names have been written in by hand.

All these lovely items will be on display at our open days and for private tours. You can keep up to date with our heriateg events by following Freinds of Winters on Facebook:

Friday, 18 March 2016

Feeling Lucky

The further we move through the process of opening up our archives the more serendipity seems to occur.
From meeting sitters from photographs 50 years on to hosting The Cameron Collection to discovering so many interesting historical images - the rewards of the research are rich.

This week we are feeling especially lucky as we have had an exquisite donation.
On the back of discovering many old retouching kits, we have been gifted a an antique retouching light box.

Needless to say we are really grateful for the gift and will be using it in one of our room sets - we have just registered for Heritage Open Days 2016 and hope to have an extra room open by September!

The retouching station above will sit perfectly amongst our other retouching tools including this airbrush as well as our sets of pencils and watercolours.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Historical Photos for the Home

As we get more and more interest in the historical images owned by Winters we have decided to make some of the images available to buy online via our website. We are just dipping our toe in the water at the moment but hope to expand the collection if there is the demand.

We have chosen some of our favourite; beautiful images in themselves, and places that will resonate with Derby locals.

Longing for lazy days in the sunshine we have selected Regatta on the River Derwent dated 1907. There is a lovely idylic quality to the image with the soft haze and ripples on the river.

For those with Derby connections, we had to include Iron Gate Derby and the iconic view up the hill to the Cathedral with its 16th century tower.

And my personal favourite, The Hollow, Littleover. Remember when we used to have real snow and everything felt peaceful?

We hope these images make you feel as magical as they do for us!

We are offering them for sale fully framed with a crystal (almost invisible) laminate finish so you wont have to worry about reflections of glass. P&P is included for UK mainland but just contact us if you would like shipping further afield!

Friday, 26 February 2016

Photos and Sketches

This weeks find in old an Ilford Film box are some broken glass negs. We have jigsawed them back together to take a look and have found two sets of matching photographs and drawings.
Whilst photographs were being printed in the late 19th century, photographic images were not reproduced in the printing industry until later. Therefore to get images produced for publicity, sketches were made from photographs of the building as seen below right.

The above photograph must be dated after 1877, as this was the lauch year of Lincrusta which can be seen on the walls. 

The next set of images are of the showroom downstairs.

In this enlarged version, you can see that the showroom is filled with portrait photographs and the odd building and lanscape.

The last sketch is of the shopfront on Midland Road. The details is fabulous - each brick has been drawn!

Sadly there is a large section missing but as more than one negative tended to be made we are hopeful that a more complete one will turn up!

Friday, 5 February 2016

Dating Winter's Carte de Visite

Photo Albums

We've had a lovely treat this week looking through a nineteenth century photo album owned by one of our volunteers. These beautiful bound albums were designed to hold carte de visite and the larger sized cabinet cards.

This one may have been owned by the Derbyshire branch of a family as it contains original Winter photographs as well as images from studios in Nottingham, London and Sheffield.
The carte de visite are particularly interesting from a research point of view as they contain information on the back

The top carte de visite is most likely the oldest as it mentions medals won by Winter in 1884 and 1885, whereas the lower two include medals from 1886. The lower two also have neg numbers on them - 66364 and 69588 respectively.
A slightly later image, which must be post 1889 based on the medal dates, has another interesting feature or two:
This photograph has a printed cover which includes the declaration 'Awarded 24 Medals' - a lovely piece of marketing! The reverse of the print has the negative number 73927, followed by the letters 'PB' and the name 'Orme'. Is this the Orme family album; and are there still Ormes in Derby?
If you are a Derby based Orme let us know if there is a family resemblance!

Friday, 22 January 2016

A Brief History of....

We are delighted to announce that the Derby Evening Telegraph have agreed to publish 'A Brief History of Winters' highlighting its place in the history and heritage of Derby City.
Below are a few excerpts to whet your appetite!

Midland Road, Derby

"By 1867, a purpose-built studio and premises had been constructed on the opposite side of Midland Road, designed by the Derby architect, Henry Isaac Stevens. The new premises had a row of huge, north-facing and church-like windows, allowing maximum diffused daylight to illuminate the subjects in the studio. [...] A very early central heating system was installed and although the coal-fired boiler has been removed, the huge radiators are still a feature in the building."

Industrial History

"In 1896, William Henry King joined the company as a photographic assistant, operator and re-toucher and was, in effect, Winter’s apprentice, learning all aspects of the business. A very scientific mind enabled William King to work with Winter on pioneering the use of flash photography and, at a later date, to install carbon-arc lighting adapted from the mining engineering company, Davis of Derby and powered by a generator on the premises, which was truly revolutionary for its time."

 Patronized by His Majesty

"Winter’s growing reputation for artistic photography and especially portraiture did not go un-noticed in Derbyshire and there were many famous visitors. The most prestigious patron was King Edward VII, who requested Winter to photograph him and his party at Chatsworth and the magnificent gilt-framed portrait is still on display at Winters."

Winter also photographed Edward's wife Queen Alexandra and the studio became known as 'The Alexandra Rooms'.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Winters Collection of Derby

Books about W. W. Winter Photographers

We have noticed that there are a couple of bargain price copies of The Winters Collection of Derby (Volume 1) available from Amazon at the moment. It is really worth investing in a copy if you are interested in photographic history and/or the history of Derby.

In case you need convincing we have put together a mini montage of the 120+ images from the book. Enjoy!