Carte de visite 1880s. Wedding party with chimney sweep on the left (meeting a chimney sweep was a good luck omen for newly weds).
Reverse of carte de visite of wedding party
Emma and Henry Chamberlain married in Southampton in 1858. Henry was a carver, guilder and picture frame maker, and although Emma was only recorded as a photographer in the 1867 trade directory (and no occupation was listed in any of the census records), existing cartes de visite indicate that she was working as a photographer between the late 1860s and early 1890s. Emma and Henry brought up three daughters while working together in complementary trades. Many nineteenth century photographers began their working life as carvers, guilders and picture frame makers before taking up commercial photography, while others combined the conveniently connected skills.
Surviving cartes de visite carry addresses that the Chamberlains did not live at, suggesting that Emma rented space in which to take her portraits. The example above shows that she also took photographs outside.
The Chamberlains lived in Dorset St from the time of their marriage until the late 1890s, when Henry died and Emma moved a short distance to Fanshaw Street.In 1901 Emma was recorded as a widow in charge of a boarding house. She died in Southampton in 1905.