Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Which Oakley sister- Jane or Fanny???

The identity of the Oakley woman in the photo above perhaps can be solved by investigating the photographers in question, Maull & Polyblank. The photo case as pictured is rather large and carries the two photos shown above.
There were only the two Oakley sisters, Jane Elizabeth born c. 1831-32 and Fanny Fortnum Oakley born over ten years later in 1846.
Jane was married for the first time in 1852, to surgeon George Beaman, then after his death remarried in 1869 Augustus Grain.
Fanny married Alfred Scorer in 1865.
The following exerpt shows that Maull and Polyblank operated from 187A Piccadilly from May 1857 to March 1865. This means that the photo could not be of Jane and Augustus.It could be of Jane and George, or of Fanny and Alfred early in their marriage.Fanny was 21 years old in 1865, while Jane would have been in her mid-thirties.

"Maull and Polyblank

Maull and Polyblank
A partnership between Henry Maull and George Henry Polyblank.
STUDIOS: 1. 55 Gracechurch Street, City of London 1854 - March 1865.
2. 187a Piccadilly, Westminster May 1857 - March 1865.
3. Tavistock House 252 Fulham Road, Chelsea 1864 - March 1865.
No 2 was situated above the booksellers, Hatchards; 3 was known as the Equestrian Studio.
Henry Maull was born in Clerkenwell in 1829.
He married Eliza (b Islington 1831).
He became a member of the Royal Photographic Society in 1870.

George Henry Polyblank was born in Plymouth in 1828, and married Maria Johnson (b 1813) at St Giles Cripplegate April 2 1853. They were divorced in 1865, and she died in 1887. They had one son, George Henry Polyblank Jr (1856 - 1915), who initially worked in an insurance company, and later became a lithographic printer in Southwark.
George Polyblank took out a patent (BPatent 2924 November 21 1861) for varnishing photographs by coating in paraffin - no specification was included, and it became void.
The partnership was dissolved March 8 1865 (London Gazette 1865 p 2069), possibly as a result of Polyblank's divorce. On November 2 1867, Polyblank was declared bankrupt; an application for discharge Jan 22 1868 was refused. A tradition in the family, as expressed in conversation and correspondence with descendants Bertie & Jennie Polyblank in April -May 1979, suggested that Polyblank fled to the U.S. in 1868 ahead of the bailiffs. It is a fact that no trace of his death can be found in England & Wales between 1868 and 1930, but equally he is not recorded on any of the published lists of emigrants to the U. S., nor does he figure on the U.S. Census of 1880.
After the dissolution of the original partnership, Henry Maull re-established himself on his own with 3 studios
1. 62 Cheapside, City of London March 1865 - 1871.
2. Tavistock House, 252 Fulham Road, Chelsea March 1865 - 1869.
3. 187a Piccadilly, Westminster March 1865 - 1871.
In 1877, Maull started a new partnership with John Fox (1832 - 1907), as Maull & Fox, which lasted until 1928, although the partnership itself was dissolved in 1885."
-The above was taken from the excellent website "www.photolondon.org.uk"


  1. I believe that I am related to George Hulme Beaman. He was my Great-Great-Granddad. I have my Great Granddad's birth certif. and George and Jane are listed as parents. Please contact me, I would like to see how you are related!

  2. Hello! I have just found your comment, and am thrilled that you have made contact re. our common Oakley history. My email address is sheridanallstate@bigpond.com if you would like to contact me directly..the Oakley/Beaman story is a very interesting one! Lovely to 'meet' you, Jen