Joseph Sharpe was born in the City of London in 1807, and lived in London until about 1836, when he moved to Southampton.
Sharpe was a skilled miniature portrait painter and drawing master when he took up photography in the early 1850s. He frequently advertised as an artist and as a photographer, but always gave his occupation as artist, miniature painter and drawing master for the census.
1856 Advertisement in Philip Brannan's 'Stranger's Guide and Pleasure Visitor's Companion to Southampton and the Surrounding Country'
In the 1840s Sharpe's wife and one of his daughters died. The 1851 census recorded him as a widower, living with 2 daughters and one son at Hanover Buildings. A few years later Sharpe married again and went on to have 3 more children with his second wife.
Advertisement 1863. 'The commodious GLASS HOUSE'.
In the mid 1850s Sharpe relocated to Albion Terrace before moving again to 11 Upper Prospect Place in about 1866. The Prospect Place studio had been the premises of W.G Smith since about 1855, and when Sharpe moved back to Hanover buildings in 1869, the studio was taken over by photographer Arthur Winterbon. One of Sharpe's advertisements stated that he had 'erected a Commodious Glass House' at the Prospect Place studio, for the purpose of taking 'photographic portraits on paper by the collodion process'. The advertisement explained the ways in which the collodion process was superior to the older daguerreotype process.
Carte de visite early 1860s.
In the late 1870s Sharpe retired, and he and his wife and children moved to Camberwell, where the 1881 census recorded his occupation as retired miniature portrait painter. Sharpe died in Camberwell in 1885.
Carte de visite 1866 - 1869. (The stand of the neck brace is visible)
Advertisement for instruction in water colour, pencil and chalk drawing.
1838 Miniature portrait painting by JF Sharpe sold on auction site in 2014