Abel Lewis Backs

Abel Lewis was one of the earliest photographers working in Douglas from c. 1862 to 1885.

The designs on the reverse of the cartes de visite reflect his growing collection of awards and can thus be used to provide an approximate date. He also appeared to use different colour backs, this too may provide some indication of date, though this aspect is still to be researched.

The earliest dated card I have is dated 1867 and has no medals just an ornate set of Initials printed within an ornate frame.

This card also has an imprint on the front - "Lewis Photo Douglas"

I have one card with this back which is noted on the back 'taken about 1873' which may be a misrecollection as the medal backs appear to date 1871 onwards though I do have an undated card with just the signature and no medals with the "Abel Lewis Photo Douglas" imprint.

A card dating post 1870 shows the 1870 Paris medal and a signature.

The imprint on the front now reads "Abel Lewis Photo Douglas"

The tally of medals has increased - the latest being 1873

The latest dated card of this type is dated 31/10/81

Yet more medals - note also the Royal Arms - the latest award is dated 1881

Subsequent (? post 1884) cards claim 'Photographer Royal' and he went back to a printed 'Abel Lewis

The latest medal on this back is 1884 -

front imprint "Abel Lewis Douglas Isle of Man"

The medals are the same as before but the Royal Arms are narrower - this back was used by J.E.Bruton when he took over the studio after 1885 using the front imprint of "Abel Lewis Studio Douglas"



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Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
© F.Coakley , 2006