Friday, September 26, 2008

The Two Mary's

Here we have two photographs of Mary Venables, the widow of George Venables, owner of the paper mill in Mill Lane. It must have been in the late 1800’s, as portrait photography was still in its infancy around then. Again I am not sure if the portraits were taken at her home or she travelled to the photographer’s studio. It could be both, as the same location was used and different furnishings are in place, though the same floor covering is there. In one she is dressed as if she is at home. The other she is dressed as if she was going out.

Remember that photographers of the day, made their own glass photographic plates, which they had coated with silver nitrate. Of course the driving force behind it all of this was William, Henry, Fox Talbot, but the general use by portrait photographers came much later. These photographs were taken after her daughters wedding in 1867, as I am sure it would have so recorded.

Mary Venables, after the death of her husband George in 1860, continued to run the paper mill business, and by all accounts was very firm in the way business was conducted. On the other hand, she was very kind and generous in looking after the welfare of her employees.

Once again my thanks to Joe Fisher, who provided me with the photographs and information.


Anonymous said...

Fascinating stuff!

Julian Venables said...

Hello, My name is Julian Venables and I am based in the UK and can trace my family back to at least William Venables, Lord Mayor of London in 1826.
Saying that we also have a framed family tree that traces back 1000 years of history through the Baron Venables family line of Kinderton in Cheshire.
I'm very interested in these photographs of Mary Venables of Cookham. Is there any chance of being able to get some copies please?
Please Email me back: julestheastrologer(AT)
Thank you!

Pat Pond said...

My 3 times great grandmother was a Henrietta Venables. The only one I can find was born to Thomas and Elizabeth Great Marlow 1781. Could we all be linked. pat