IOW Photographers - Hughes


Photographer Cornelius Jabez Hughes  &  Hughes & Mullins
Active Period 1862 - 1884
Lifespan Born:  1819  London Died:  1884   IOW
Studio Addresses 6 The Arcade, Union Street, Ryde (1862-1866)
60 Union Street, Ryde (from 1866)
Associates Gustav Henry William Mullins
William Robert Hogg
Trade History 1865 Harrod & Co's Directory Hampshire & IOW (page 1149)
J Hughes, photographic artist, Union Street, Ryde

1867 Kelly's Directory IOW
Jabez Hughes, Photographer to the Queen and Royal Family,
Regina House, Union Street, Ryde

1871 Hills Historical & Commercial Directory (page 225)
Jabez Hughes, Photographer, 60 Union Street, Ryde

1875 Kelly's Directory IOW
Jabez Hughes, Photographer to the Queen and Royal Family,
Regina House, Union Street, Ryde

1878 White's Directory IOW
Jabez Hughes, Photographer, 60 Union Street, Ryde
also, The Laurels, Ashey Road, Ryde

1898 Kelly's Directory IOW (pages 250 & 551)
Hughes & Mullins, photographers, 60 Union Street, Ryde

1899 Kelly's Directory of Hampshire & IOW (page 637)
Hughes & Mullins, photographers, 60 Union Street, Ryde

1899 Kelly's Directory of Hampshire & IOW (page 638)
Gustav Mullins, photographer, see Hughes & Mullins [sic]

1915 Kelly's Directory IOW (pages 719 & 1090)
Hughes & Mullins, photographers, 60 Union Street, Ryde

1915 Kelly's Directory IOW (pages 720 & 1090)
Gustav Mullins, photographer, 64 Union Street, Ryde

Evidence Found
1863 - estimated date of photo - see below
Examples of
Trade Cards,
Adverts, etc
Hughes1.jpg (18617 bytes)Hughes2.jpg (17469 bytes)
Example of Jabez Hughes photo and back estimated to be c1863.

My thanks to Errol Walling for the above photo.

The photo is thought to be of Eleanor HAWKEN (nee WARNE) the first wife of Rev. William HAWKEN - a Bible Christian Minister in Newport / Ryde from 1863 - 1865.
If you can confirm the subject or date, I'm sure Errol would like to hear from you


RydeShop.jpg (18822 bytes)
Photo of shop at 60 Union Street
Shop sign says "Royal Photographers"
This suggests the photo was taken c1900
(ie before Queen Victoria died in 1901)

My thanks to Ann Barrett and Richard Smout for the above shop photo and 1871 lookup.

HughesShop.jpg (26488 bytes)
Photo of the shop taken New Year's Eve 2003
The moulding above the door is dated 1865

HughesSign.jpg (8060 bytes)
The original enamel sign is still in place!

HughesAd.jpg (18355 bytes)
An advertisement from the IW County Press dated 4 January 1894

MullinsAd.jpg (15367 bytes)
An advertisement from the IW County Press dated 9 April 1910
announcing Gustav Mullins' new studio at 64 Union Street, Ryde
My thanks to Ann Barrett for locating the above advertisements.

Family History Cornelius Jabez Hughes was born in London in 1819. He trained as a daguerreotypist under the famous photographer John J.E.Mayall, who had opened a studio at 433 Strand, London in 1847. In the 1850s, Hughes worked as a photographer in Glasgow, but in 1855 he returned to London to take over Mayall's studio in the Strand.

In 1862, Jabez Hughes purchased the photographic business of William George Lacey at 6 Royal Arcade, Union Street, Ryde. From 1862, Jabez Hughes was regularly in attendance at Queen Victoria's residence at Osborne, taking photographs of members of the Royal Household and portraits of the Royal Family. His photographic portraits were used by Edwin Landseer, the Royal portrait painter, to produce works such as "Sorrow" (1866).

At some point before 1867, Hughes moved to 60 Union Street, Ryde - his Regina House Studio. It is thought that the photographers E & A Debenham then took over the Arcade studio. Around 1880, Hughes took on an assistant, Gustav William Henry Mullins. Gustav Mullins was born in 1854 in Jersey, CI, and, in the 1881 census, was recorded as living at Norris View, John Street, Ryde.

At one time, Jabez Hughes had an apprentice by the name of William Robert Hogg working with him. After he had been trained as an assistant, William was sent to Osborne House on many occasions to photograph Queen Victoria and members of the Royal family.

In 1883, Hughes entered into partnership with Mullins to form HUGHES & MULLINS. This business arrangement may have been prompted by the fact that Hughes "never recovered from the death of his only son in 1878" - the only heir to his business. When Jabez Hughes moved to the IOW in 1862, his London studio was left in the hands of Edward S Hughes. Edward Hughes may have been Jabez's son or brother. In the 1881 census, it is recorded  that Jabez had a grandson, Reginald Hughes, living with him and his wife, Esther. Reginald was born c1873 in Ryde which suggests that Jabez's son was also living in Ryde at the time - possibly assisting his father.

Shortly after entering into partnership with Gustav Mullins, Jabez Hughes died on 11 August 1884. Mullins purchased the furniture and fittings from Hughes' widow, Esther, but continued trading under the name HUGHES & MULLINS for nearly 30 years.

The firm of HUGHES & MULLINS were granted a Royal Warrant on 15 January 1885 when they were named "Photographers to Her Majesty at Ryde". Mullins made a number of portraits of Queen Victoria and the Royal Family. A group portrait taken in the Council Room at Osborne House in April 1886 is particularly noteworthy because it shows four generations of the Royal Family and it features a smiling Queen Victoria. She was evidently very pleased with Mullins' portraits, describing them as "very successful" in her journal. In the late 1880s, Mullins was commissioned to re-photograph the large number of early photographs in Queen Victoria's collection. Mullins used the permanent carbon process process to make photographic prints of images from the 1840s and 1850s which needed to be preserved.

Gustav Mullins continued to trade as HUGHES & MULLINS until 1910 when he moved to smaller premises at 64 Union Street where he traded under the name Gustav Mullins only.

My thanks to David Simkin for contributing to the above historical notes.


Further Notes

"We have before us a most exquisite specimen of the art of photography, viz, the interior of St. Mary's church, taken by our talented townsman, Mr. Hughes, at the express desire of the noble foundress. The light and shadow is most superbly delineated, every scroll and inscription on the walls being brought out in admirable perfection. We would recommend all our visitors to pay a visit to the studio of Mr. Hughes, as a sight of this admirable picture alone will amply repay them."
- IW Observer, 16 May 1863

REGINA HOUSE "The contract for the splendid new premises, about to be erected in Union-street for Mr Jabez Hughes, has been taken by Mr James Colenutt, the work to be completed by Lady Day, 1865."
- IW Observer, 30 July 1864

"ROYAL VISIT TO RYDE – The inhabitants of Union-street were gratified on Monday last by seeing one of the Royal carriages drive down the street. It stopped at the entrance of the Arcade, and their Royal Highnesses the Princess Helena and Louise got out and walked to the photographic studio of Mr Jabez Hughes. They remained with him some time. We trust he was as successful on this as he has been on former occasions. Of this, however, we have little doubt, and it is only to be regretted that his splendid new premises in Union-street – a very temple of photographic art – were not sufficiently completed to have taken the portraits of his royal visitors there. This would have been a fitting inauguration of Regina House. Let us hope that such an honor is yet in store for our enterprising and spirited townsman."
- IW Observer, 29 July 1865

"ROYAL PATRONAGE OF PHOTOGRAPHY - We perceive by the Court Circular that our talented townsman, Mr Jabez Hughes, has again been required by Her Majesty to photograph various members of the Royal Family during her recent sojourn at Osborne. We understand Mr Hughes has been very successful in his photographs of the Duke of Edinburgh."
- IW Times, 22 Feb 1866

"THE ABYSSINIAN PRINCE - We understand that our townsman, Mr Jabez Hughes, on Thursday last photographed the young son of the late Emperor Theodore, who is an exceedingly intelligent-looking little fellow. He was attended by his guardian, Captain Speedy."
- IW Observer, 1 August 1868

VISCOUNT TEMPLETOWN .. During the week Mr. Jabez Hughes, the eminent photographer of Union-street, has been exhibiting in his window a fine portrait (almost life size), of General Lord Templetown, intended, we understand, for presentation by the Corporation of Portsmouth.
- IW Observer, 2 May 1874 (page 5)

THE LATE SIR W. MARTINS. - Our esteemed and talented townsman, Mr. Jabez Hughes, has now on view at his establishment a splendid portrait of the late Sir William Martins, on porcelain. It is, with-out doubt, a splendid likeness and a magnificent work of art. The features are beautifully drawn, and present an admirable expression of him whose loss we have just recorded. It reflects great credit upon Mr. Hughes' taste and skill, and goes far to justify the proverbial saying with which all work turned out from his establishment is credited.
- IW Observer, 20 June 1874

THE LATE LORD BEACONSFIELD.---The last photograph ever taken of this distinguished statesman was done by our townsman Mr. Jabez Hughes. A very fine enlargement of the same is now exhibited in the window of Regina House, and we understand that Mr. Hughes has sent away an immense number of copies of the smaller photos.
- IW Observer, 23 April 1881

PHOTOGRAPHY AND THE BRITISH MEDICAL ASSOCIATION.---We understand that during a visit of the principal members of the above association to Southlands, the beautiful residence of their President, B. Barrow, Esq, the occasion was selected to commemorate the visit by photographing the distinguished company. Among the portraits we recognise the President, the ex-President, and most of the officers of the association. The photographer selected was Mr. Jabex Hughes.
- IW Observer, 13 August 1881

We are pleased to state that a very striking portrait of the late Mr. A. F. Leeds, J.P., has been hung in the smoking room of the Ryde Conservative Club, side by side, with "counterfeit presentments", of Lord Beaconsfield, Sir Richard Webster, and the late Thomas Leech, J.P.  The portrait has been enlarged and worked up by Messrs. Hughes and Mullins from a photo taken by Mr. Debenham.  The expression and pose are alike admirable, and reflect credit on both the well-known firms concerned in its production.  We understand Mr. W. B. Smith took the initiative in starting a subscription amongst the members, and made most of the arrangements to obtain the memorial of one whose influence and value to the Conservative cause were always felt, but never more so than when illness and death laid him aside.
- IW Observer, 7 July 1888 (page 5)
Further information about Major A F Leeds, his obituary and grave details can be found on the Ryde Social Heritage Group website at

"Messrs. Hughes and Mullins are now exhibiting at their well-known establishment, a picture in crayons, representing the “Morning Star,” one of the most admired of the tableaux vivants, at the Town Hall. It is a difficult subject to depict, but it is treated very artistically. Mr. Debenham also exhibits interesting photos of others of the same series of tableaux vivants."
- IW Observer 10 December 1892

"T.R.H. the Duke and Duchess of the Connaught and the Royal children were photographed at Messrs. Hughes and Mullins establishment on Thursday."
- IW Observer 31 December 1892

"MESSRS, HUGHES AND MULLINS - have just published a striking portrait of the Queen, taken at Osborne in January, one of the best as it is the latest photograph for which she has sat. Her Majesty is seated with her hands crossed, her face being in profile. From a chain bracelet which she is wearing two miniature portraits are pendant, one of them being easily recognisable as that of the Duke of Connaught. This splendid likeness will doubtless have a phenomenal sale."
- IW County Press, 25 Feb 1893

My thanks to Diana Wood, Ann & Les Barrett for supplying the above press cuttings.


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