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HomeContents > People > Photographers > J.B.B. Wellington

Born: James Booker Blakemore Wellington 
Dates:  1858 - 1939
Born:  Great Britain, England, Lansdown, nr Bath
Died:  Great Britain, England, Elstree
Active:  UK
English scientist and photographer. He worked with George Eastman in New York before becoming a director at Kodak and later he set up his own photographic materials company, Wellington & Ward. His work is often whimsical, although his architectural studies (he originally trained as an architect) are striking. Linked Ring Brotherhood.
[Courtesy of Pam Roberts]

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for J.B.B. Wellington
(Courtesy of Christian Peterson)

James Booker Blakemore Wellington was a successful photographic merchant and respected naturalistic photographer during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in England.
He was born in 1858 in Lansdown, Bath. He learned to paint and practiced as an architect for a short time, but around 1890 was introduced to photographic manufacturing by George Eastman, on a visit to the United States. Back in England, he served from 1891 to 1893 as the first manager of the Kodak Works, in Harrow-on-the-Hill, a suburb of London.
Around 1895, Wellington partnered with his brother-in-law, H. H. Ward, to establish Wellington and Ward, Ltd., in Elstree, Hertfordshire. As scientific and technical director, Wellington was in charge of improving the plates, films, and papers that the firm developed and manufactured. For many years, they published the Wellington Photographic Handbook, which contained extensive technical information and promoted its own products. They also featured halftone and screen-gravure illustrations of accomplished photographic images, including some by Wellington himself. Indicative of its popularity, the handbook went through at least seventeen editions by 1928 and was translated into no less than six other languages, including Japanese. In 1929, Wellington and Ward was acquired by Ilford, Ltd.
Wellington’s personal interest in photography began in the late 1870s, and by 1887 he was a member of the Royal Photographic Society, serving on its exhibition committee. In April 1890, his work was featured in Sun Artists, an exclusive set of eight monographs on artistic photographers that firmly established his reputation in the field. Its four, signed photogravures revealed his strength in genre scenes and landscapes, influenced by the painters John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough.
Wellington exhibited his work internationally from the late 1880s until around World War I. He showed in Vienna in 1888 and 1891, New York in 1899, Paris in 1900, and at the St. Louis Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904. The London salon frequently accepted his pictures.
In England, important organizations embraced him and periodicals reproduced his images. In 1892, he was elected to membership in the Linked Ring Brotherhood, the country’s most advanced group of photographers. The Royal Photographic Society granted him an honorary fellowship in 1935 (Hon. FRPS). Photograms of the Year, England’s internationally read annual, featured his work ten times between 1897 and 1917. Wellington was so mechanically and technically adept, that he reportedly created by hand most of the photographic materials he used for his own work, from his plates to his wooden cameras. J. B. B. Wellington died in 1939, in Elstree. 
Christian A. Peterson Pictorial Photography at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (Christian A. Peterson: Privately printed, 2012) 
This biography is courtesy and copyright of Christian Peterson and is included here with permission. 
Date last updated: 1 June 2013. 
We welcome institutions and scholars willing to test the sharing of biographies for the benefit of the photo-history community. The biography above is a part of this trial.
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H. Walter Barnett
J.B.B. Wellington 
1910 (ca)
Family history 
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Visual indexes

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Internet biographies

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Getty Research, Los Angeles, USA has an ULAN (Union List of Artists Names Online) entry for this photographer. This is useful for checking names and they frequently provide a brief biography. Go to website
Grove Art Online ( has a biography of this artist. 
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Printed biographies

The following books are useful starting points to obtain brief biographies but they are not substitutes for the monographs on individual photographers.

• Beaton, Cecil & Buckland, Gail 1975 The Magic Eye: The Genius of Photography from 1839 to the Present Day (Boston and Toronto: Little, Brown & Company) p.118 [Useful short biographies with personal asides and one or more example images.] 
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