John Pell was born in Hockington, Lincolnshire in 1849. In 1871 the census recorded him as a Chemist's assistant in Market Harborough, Leicestershire. Pell returned to Lincolnshire in 1878 to marry his first wife Catherine, before moving to Woolston, Southampton to open a Chemist and Druggist shop in Victoria Road.
Carte de visite portrait of young child with her doll, courtesy of Greg Cox.
In the 1880s and 1890s Pell was listed as a Chemist in the directories, but not as a photographer. The 1881 census recorded John Pell and his wife at 20 Victoria Road. Catherine's brother John Favell, a draper's assistant lived with them. Pell's occupation was given as chemist and druggist. The 1891 census recorded Pell as a Chemist and Photographer in Victoria Road. Other than surviving portraits, the census of this year seems to be the only record of Pell's involvement in portrait photography. In 1891 Catherine's sister Elizabeth Favell, an artist and sculptor, lived with them.
Cabinet card portrait of small girl with her 'Golliwog' doll.
Elizabeth was still living with her sister and brother in law in Victoria Road by the time of the 1901 census. Pell's occupation was listed as chemist and druggist, with no mention of photography.
Catherine died in 1901 and John Pell married his second wife Ellen in 1903. John Pell died in Hedge End, near Southampton in 1910.