The firm of Adams and Stilliard was one of the most prominent portrait photography firms in Southampton from the 1860s to the mid 1880s.
Early carte de visite portraits by Adams and Stilliard trading as The South of England Photographic Institution.
In the early 1860s Arthur Walter/Walton Adams worked for the photographer Samuel Wiseman at his Fine Art Repository. (See entry for Samuel Wiseman). Another young man, William Stilliard, was also working for Mr Wiseman. These 2 young men were the first in 2 family dynasties of photographers.
Carte de visite 1871
By 1869 Adams and Stilliard had formed a partnership and were running a photography studio at 9 Bernard St. William Stilliard’s younger brother James worked as one of their assistants. As well as the Stilliard brothers and Walter Adams, 2 women, 2 boys and another male assistant were all working at 9 Bernard St.
Carte de visite dated April 1871.
Carte de visite dated May 1873. The man appears to be holding a ribbon or a tie.
Carte de visite with announcement of new premises in the High St. Date unclear.
Tragedy struck in 1871 when James Stilliard died aged only 18 years. Later that year William married, only to die of ‘consumption’ in 1873. The oldest Stilliard brother, Edward, inherited the business. Edward provided for William’s widow, until she too died in 1875.
Carte de visite 1875, with visible oval shadow from an album mount.
Carte de visite dated 1879, after the move to 32 High Street
Later in the 1870s the firm relocated to 32 High St. Walter Adams and Edward Stilliard were in business together until about 1881. Edward moved to Bristol and then London, and Adams formed a new partnership with Arthur Scanlan. Adams and Scanlan produced portraits with the Adams and Stilliard design on the back, as well as the new company name. The partnership between Adams and Scanlan was dissolved in 1883, however the firm traded until the early 1890s. The firm attracted Royal patronage, and also photographed famous people like Gordon of Khartoum.
Carte de visite 1882,in the name of Adams and Stilliard, 2 years after the partnership was dissolved. Royalty regularly passed through Southampton on the way to Queen Victoria's residence on the Isle of Wight, Osborne House.
Cabinet card, 1882.
Stilliard Photographers. Edward Stilliard was a businessman before he inherited his brother’s photography business in Southampton. In the 1890s Edward employed his wife’s sister as his assistant at his Bristol Photography Studio. The firm continued to work for the rich and famous of the time. Edwards’ son Horace took over the position of head photographer at the Kensington studio in the early 1900s, while his father became the manager. Other members of the Stilliard family were also photographers, or married photographers. Eliza Stilliard (sister of William, James and Edward) had 3 daughters, one of whom, Nina Mathilde was listed as a photographer in the 1901 census. Another of the daughters, Winifred, married Herbert E Abdey, a photographer in Pinner. The third sister Isabelle was an artist painter.
Adams Photographers By 1891 Walter Adams was running a photography studio in Reading, having changed his name to Walton Adams. His patrons included members of the royal family and prominent figures such as Lloyd George. His sons Marcus and Victor followed their father into portrait photography. Marcus developed sophisticated studio lighting systems and specialised in photographing children. Marcus was photographic advisor to George V and photographed the royal children. Marcus’ son Gilbert also became a photographer. As well as portraits of children he photographed aircraft, ballet and theatre, and the work of artists including Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. Gilbert Adams designed the lighting for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The firm of Walton Adams and Son existed in Reading until the early 2000s.