This is one of Ernest’s cameras, with significant parts made by himself or to his order. The lens is intended for architectural telephotography; the flat object on the front is a Thornton Pickard shutter.

It was my grandfather Ernest who got me started on this research. As a photographer interested in the history of photography, I have long known that he was a very keen photographer himself. He passed the interest on to his two sons, both of whom were members of the Royal Photographic Society (RPS) as was Ernest. Indeed, Ernest was on the Council of the RPS for many years.

He was best known at the time for his contribution to developing and proselytising telephotography, especially its architectural uses. However, he also exhibited pictorial work, and later became very interested in microphotography.

He wrote or contributed to four books with family members. He also wrote many articles on photographic topics in Photograms, the Photographic Journal and Amateur Photographer. After his jam and pickle business failed in the mid-1920s he re-invented himself as a lecturer on photographic topics, and as a journalist for the agricultural press. The links below take you to illustrations of his life and works


Elementary Telephotography – 1901

Pillow Lace – 1907 [with Margaret and Elizabeth]

The Sculptures of Chartres Cathedral – 1909 [with Margaret]

Nine Lives – 1934 [with Caroline]

Ernest Marriage and the Woodford Photographic Society

W Gill of the Woodford Photographic Society reports that:

“EM was not one of the seven founding members when the club was formed in 1893 but must have joined shortly afterwards. In 1895 he was awarded a medal for a set of 12 lantern slides exhibited at the Royal Photographic Society Annual Exhibition. (The WPS had 12 prints and 12 sets of slides accepted for this exhibition). This was reported in the Woodford Times.

By 1906 he was one of five members of the WPS to have received the distinction of Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society (FRPS).

By 1910 at the time of the Society’s 15th Annual Exhibition E. Marriage was using the Autochrome process to produce slides.

He specialised in architectural subjects and in order to get the results he wanted he invented his own telescopic lenses which were mounted in cardboard tubes and fitted to his half-plate camera. Subsequently a manufacturer of camera lenses took over his designs and produced them commercially.

His last recorded attendance at the society is in March 1927 but a copy of one of his pictures was reproduced in the Amateur Photographer of November 21st 1928.”

The suggestion that he had his lens designs put into production commercially is interesting, and should be further researched. He had close contacts with Thomas Dallmeyer – was it Dallmeyer’s that he worked with?

Ernest Marriage's Photography Archive

A selection of Ernest Marriage’s photographs were donated to the Royal Photographic Society in 1965. This is the only significant collection of his work in existence, though of course examples can also be found in all his publications, and the family hold small numbers of family pictures by him. The links below take you to pages providing an illustrated catalogue of the RPS material, which is now held at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Nearly all the pictures are lantern slides, which he obviously used to give lectures. The dominant theme is the use of telephotography to capture details of church architecture, mainly in France and Italy. Most of the locations are identified, but any help in filling in the gaps, or correcting attributions, will be very welcome via the contact form. The main inventory numbers are 9203, 9390 and 9409 – each number referring to a box of material. The sequence numbers are not marked on the individual slides. The captions show the text actually written on the slide, as well as I was able to read it.




Another box of slides has since been found in the RPS collection, and not yet captured for this site. Subjects include:

Exterior of a house, Cavendish

Street scene, Lavenham

Sculptural relief (ecclesiastical)

‘The Doom Painting’, Wenhaston

‘Sloth’, ecclesiastical sculpture

View of Swaffham

Norman tower, Bury St Edmunds

3 men by the seashore (backs to camera)

A thatcher at work on the roof of a cottage

Exterior of Bonner’s cottage

Some fishermen with their catch on a quayside

A windmill

View of Kersey, Suffolk

Quayside view

A barge in full sail

Rural landscape with cows

Wing of gnat x40 (colour)

Street scene, Easter, 1938 (colour)

4 views of the exterior of a house (colour)

Dufay screen and autochrome, enlarged (mono)

‘Autochrome – use of 4 different screens’, showing woman in blue dress outside a house (colour)

A Peacock, 1938 (colour)

Clematis (colour)

Fruit jelly magnified (colour)

Two women at Hindhead (autochrome)

Blackcurrent x50 (colour)

two Autumnal wood scenes (both colour)

Parrot (colour)