Philip Godfray

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Philip Godfray's 19th century photographs


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La Corbiere lighthouse


Philip Godfray had a long career as a professional photographer in Jersey, and his business moved several times. He started out in the Royal Square, from 1858 to 1862; moving to 61 New Street from 1863 to 1873; 16 Bath Street from 1873 to 1881; and then 35 Belmont Road, 18 Hill Street and 12 Market Arcade from 1882 to 1898.

In the days before postcards became the principal means by which those who did not own a camera themselves could purchase island views, Godfray sold carte de visite size prints and also stereoview image pairs, which offered a form of three-dimensional view when looked at through a stereoscope. Godfray was particularly active in the late 1860s and through the 1870s, and prints of his photographs sold well at the time and frequently come up for sale today. We have brought together on this page some of the Godfray photographs which have been in Jerripedia for some time, in a variety of galleries, and added a selection of images new to the site, scanned and sent to us in 2017 by a collector.

Jersey's first purpose-built public market, off Halkett Place. It was demolished in 1880 and a new market was built to replace it, opening in 1882. This picture is believed to date from 1870

1882 album

This selection of Godfray's photographs is in an album assembled in 1882 and now in the collection of Bibliotheque Nationale Francaise (the French national library). Godfray produced a large selection of prints of island views for sale to visitors, much as they would later buy postcards as a souvenir of their holiday.

Trinity Church
St Lawrence tramway, built to carry quarried granite from the north of the island to the south
Only the most well-to-do families in the Victorian era could afford either to own their own camera or to have family photographs taken by a professional. This super picture of an unidentified family was taken by Philip Godfray, which dates it to between 1848 and 1898, although the clothes suggest that it was taken at the end of that period, just inside the 19th century. Quite why this family chose to pose for their group photograph on the beach is not clear, but the picture has the appearance of a commissioned photograph, rather than one taken by an itinerant photographs during a group charabanc outing. If only we knew who these people were - but as with many family photographs, there were no names written on the back!
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