Matthew Broadhead

Copyright Registrations of Photographs by Frederick William Broadhead

Written by Matthew Broadhead

Out of the first 2000 photographs that were registered, between 29 July 1862 and 11 September 1863, 317 contained one or more members of the British royal family, a proportion of just over 15%. Between 1862 and 1900, the two sitters who had by far the largest number of photographs registered for copyright were the Prince and Princess of Wales. “Only theatrical figures like Lillie Langtry and Ellen Terry come close to the total number of royal photographs registered.” (Hannavy, 2007) F. W. B. registered a total of twenty-two photographs at the Stationers Office between 1878 and 1907. Twenty-one of these date between 1878 and 1895. Details are included below:

Mr. Joshua Danks
Sitting, ¾ face, right arm on table, two medals on breast
Form completed on the 18th January 1878
Registration stamp on the 19th January 1878
Dr Webb, Bishop of Blomfontine
¾ face, sitting, right hand to side of face, book on table, legs crossed
Form completed on the 15th July 1879
Registration stamp on the 17th July 1879
Cardinal Manning
Sitting, nearly full face, arm resting on arms of chair
Form completed on the 4th October 1879
Registration stamp on the 10th October 1879
Cardinal Manning
Seated in chair on door step and surrounded by eight members of the Dominican order
Form completed on the 4th October 1879
Registration stamp on the 10th October 1879
'Great Paul', the large bell for St Pauls Cathedral, London. Two men on woodwork at left.
Form completed on the 1st April 1882
Registration stamp on the 3rd April 1882
The Corporals of the 1st Battalion Leicester Rifle Volunteers
Form completed on the 22nd August 1884
Registration stamp on the 22nd August 1884
The Officers of the 1st Battalion Leicester Rifle Volunteers
Form completed on the 22nd August 1884
Registration stamp on the 22nd August 1884
The Sergeants of the 1st Battalion Leicester Rifle Volunteers
Form completed on the 22nd August 1884
Registration stamp on the 22nd August 1884
The Elizabeth Saloon, Belvoir Castle
Form completed on the 26th September 1885
Registration stamp on the 28th September 1885
The Regents Gallery, Belvoir Castle
Form completed on the 26th September 1885
Registration stamp on the 28th September 1885
Bishop King, Roman Catholic Bishop of Trinidad
Full length, sitting, ¾ face, holding paper in right hand resting on his knee, wearing clerical dress and cap
Form completed on the 15th March 1886
Registration stamp on the 19th March 1886
The Duke of Rutland
Head and bust nearly full face
Form completed on the 21st February 1888
Registration stamp on the 27th February 1888
The Duke of Rutland
Head and bust full face
Form completed on the 21st February 1888
Registration stamp on the 27th February 1888
The Duchess of Rutland
Head and bust, ¾ face, side figure, facing right of picture
Form completed on the 11th July 1888
Registration stamp on the 12th July 1888
The Duke of Rutland
¾ face, bust, looking to right of picture
Form completed on 11th July 1888
Registration stamp on 12th July 1888
The Right Rev W. Hipwood, Abbot of Mount St Bernards
Seated
Form completed on the 27th August 1890
Registration stamp on the 29th August 1890
A group of the Abbot and Clergy at Mount St Bernards
Form completed on the 27th August 1890
Registration stamp on the 29th August 1890
The Mayor and Council of Leicester, consisting of 50 persons including the Mayor
Form completed on the 12th November 1892
Registration stamp on the 14th November 1892
The Prince of Wales
¾ length, right hand on back of chair, left hand in pocket
Form completed on the 7th February 1894
Registration stamp on the 7th February 1894
A case of representative cricketers shown in the relative positions occupied by their respective clubs in regard to the premier position during the season and entitled 'The race for the championship'
Form completed on the 25th January 1895
Registration stamp on the 30th January 1895
Mr. Samuel Turner JP
Form completed on the 11th April 1895
Registration stamp on the 16th April 1895
Photograph of a group taken to commemorate the Marquis of Granby coming of age on the 26th of September 1907 at Belvoir Castle, Leicestershire
Form completed on the 2nd October 1907
Registration stamp on the 10th October 1907

All of these registered photographs fall into six distinct categories. These consist of religious, military, royalty, aristocracy, local celebrities, and subjects connected with popular culture.

Firstly, it is useful to understand why any photographs were registered in the first place. Between 1554 and 1924 individuals and businesses could apply to secure copyright by submitting an application for registration to the Stationers’ Company. The copyright records now held at The National Archives are those that were registered under the terms of a succession of copyright acts which began in 1842. In the 1850s, wet plate collodion enabled the mass reproduction of photographs which made it necessary to pass the first copyright statute expressly protecting photographs in 1862. The Fine Arts Copyright Act 100 was utilized by photographers for legal protection to prevent the unauthorised reproduction of photographs which they sold to the public in the form of carte-de-visite and larger cabinet cards. “Photographers sold cartes and cabinets through a wide range of retailers such as print shops, stationers, booksellers and novelty shops, and the celebrity carte trade also had their own London wholesaler – Marion & Co – stocking thousands of celebrity photographs, with some 50,000 cartes passing through the firm’s hands every month by 1862.” (Cooper and Burrow, 2018) Until technological change in the 1890s which allowed ‘process’ reprographic techniques to print photographs alongside typeset material, it would have been necessary to acquire legal protection as a deterrent towards the unauthorised manufacture and sale of copied carte de visite and cabinet card photographs. F. W. B.’s earliest photograph registered in 1878 of Mr. Joshua Danks described the sitter as wearing ‘two medals on breast’. This suggests that they were a local celebrity, and the people of Leicester would have purchased copies of this photograph to include in their own photographic albums. There was no announcement in the local newspapers, so it is likely that sale was through word of mouth. Just over a year later, the next photograph sold commercially for 1 shilling featured the reproduction of a postcard reported in the Leicester Chronicle and Leicestershire Mercury as having travelled around the world ‘in 95 days’. Why was this photograph not registered? One possible answer was that it did not feature a portrait subject, which constitute the vast majority of registrations. The first advertisement for a copyrighted photograph of a bell for St. Paul’s Cathedral in London was published in the Leicester Chronicle and Leicestershire Mercury of the 10th June 1882. The next advertisement was published in the Leicester Journal for ‘The Last and Most Successful Portrait of the Late Duke of Rutland’ on the 17th March 1888. A year later the Leicester Journal advertised the ‘Late Colonel Millican, J. P.’. Following this was the Journal of 20th October 1894 advertising ‘Portraits of the Late Lord Haddon’. A number of these advertisements embody the common theme of commemorative portraits featuring recently deceased persons of notoriety. It is notable that there is an inconsistency with some of these advertised photographs having not been registered for copyright. There were also registered photographs that were evidently made available as a consumer item, but not advertised anywhere. All of the advertised commercial portraits were priced at 1s. 6d. for a standard cabinet size photograph. According to John Plunkett, top quality celebrity carte de visite sold for around the same amount during the 1860s in Britain. There were always enlarged versions available at a greater expense which usually took advantage of permanent processes such as carbon or platinotype printing.

Unfortunately, registering photographs for copyright purposes did not prevent other fraudulent activity from taking place. In 1895, a canvasser named George Thomas Copeland was engaged by F. W. B. to solicit orders for photographs of councilor and shoe manufacturer Mr. Samuel Turner, J. P. who was recently deceased. Copeland was charged with stealing two sums of 2s. from two individuals, contrary to arrangements based on a commission system. The actual amount received from customers expecting photographs was ascertained to be 35s. 6d. which led to another charge for embezzlement of money belonging to F. W. B. that resulted in six weeks’ hard labour.

Bibliography

Cooper, E. and Burrow, S., 2018. Photographic Copyright and the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court in Historical Perspective. Legal Studies, 39(1), pp.143-165.