Horse-drawn Victorian photographer’s studio used in Dorset is set to fetch £12,000 at auction

Snap it up! Rare horse-drawn travelling photographer’s studio from 19th century that was used by Victorian clients in Dorset seaside town before falling into disrepair is set to fetch £12,000 at auction

  • The horse-drawn carriage was used in Wareham, Dorset, from the mid 19th-century 
  • Was owned by photographer John Pouncy, who had Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert as a client
  • Studio expected to sell for between £8,000 and £12,000 at Charterhouse Auctioneers in Sherborne, Dorset 

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A ‘remarkable’ Victorian travelling photographer’s studio that once catered to 19th-century seaside holidaymakers is set to fetch up to £12,000 at auction. 

The rare horse-drawn carriage was used in Wareham, Dorset, from the mid 19th-century, largely by visitors to the picturesque coastal town. 

It was owned and operated by pioneering photographer John Pouncy and his son Walter, who counted Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert among their clients.  

Photos show studio both in its heyday and in its current state of disrepair. 

A 'remarkable' Victorian travelling photographer's studio that once catered to 19th-century seaside holidaymakers is set to fetch up to £12,000 at auction

A ‘remarkable’ Victorian travelling photographer’s studio that once catered to 19th-century seaside holidaymakers is set to fetch up to £12,000 at auction

The horse-drawn carriage was used in Wareham, Dorset, from the mid 19th-century, largely by visitors to the picturesque coastal town. It was owned and operated by pioneering photographer John Pouncy and his son Walter, who counted Queen Victoria's husband Prince Albert among their clients. Above: The studio in Dorset in the mid 19th-century

The horse-drawn carriage was used in Wareham, Dorset, from the mid 19th-century, largely by visitors to the picturesque coastal town. It was owned and operated by pioneering photographer John Pouncy and his son Walter, who counted Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert among their clients. Above: The studio in Dorset in the mid 19th-century

John and Walter Pouncy, who lived in Dorchester, Dorset, took hundreds of pictures of seaside visitors in Wareham during their time in possession of the studio. 

The carriage was later used by a series of other professional photographers before ending up in a field.

The current owner is also a photographer and had hoped to restore it so it could be used again as a travelling studio. 

It features a small dark room where films would have been processed, along with a glazed roof and glass-paneled side.

It also still contains original hooks where backgrounds for photographs were hung.  

John and Walter Pouncy, who lived in Dorchester, Dorset, took hundreds of pictures of seaside visitors in Wareham during their time in possession of the studio. Above: The carriage in transit

John and Walter Pouncy, who lived in Dorchester, Dorset, took hundreds of pictures of seaside visitors in Wareham during their time in possession of the studio. Above: The carriage in transit

The studio has its original wooden floorboards and shelving where photography equipment would have been kept

The studio has its original wooden floorboards and shelving where photography equipment would have been kept 

Photography expert Michael Pritchard, of the Royal Photographic Society, told Amateur Photographer Magazine : ‘I had the privilege of seeing the studio in the summer of 2021 and meeting its current owner. It is a remarkable survival. 

‘Entering felt like stepping back 130 years.

‘Although the current owner’s hope of restoring and retaining it as a travelling studio were not able to be realised, it has been lovingly looked after.’ 

Pouncy began his career as a painter and decorator but became gripped by the then burgeoning science of photography when the technology began to rapidly improve in the 1850s.

He developed a way of overcoming the problem of photographs quickly fading after they were taken.

As well as doing business with Prince Albert, Pouncy is believed to have taken photos of famed author Thomas Hardy.  

The current owner is also a photographer and had hoped to restore it so it can be used again as a travelling studio. Above: A painting featuring the studio (front)

The current owner is also a photographer and had hoped to restore it so it can be used again as a travelling studio. Above: A painting featuring the studio (front)

The door to the studio has will have been used by dozens of visitors to Dorset hoping to get their photograph taken

The door to the studio has will have been used by dozens of visitors to Dorset hoping to get their photograph taken

His studio is expected to sell for between £8,000 and £12,000 at Charterhouse Auctioneers in Sherborne, Dorset, on August 4th. 

Auctioneer Richard Bromell said: ‘This is a fantastic opportunity for someone to acquire what we understand to be a unique piece of Victorian photography history which would make a stunning studio or office.

‘Not an easy lot to put a value on, a year ago we sold a Victorian Shepherd’s hut for £13,000 and decided, after some discussion, to estimate this super rare studio at £8,000-12,000.’ 

Plenty of light gets into the studio from the glazed roof. A new owner could restore it to its former glory. Photography expert Michael Pritchard, of the Royal Photographic Society, told Amateur Photographer Magazin e : 'I had the privilege of seeing the studio in the summer of 2021 and meeting its current owner. It is a remarkable survival'

Plenty of light gets into the studio from the glazed roof. A new owner could restore it to its former glory. Photography expert Michael Pritchard, of the Royal Photographic Society, told Amateur Photographer Magazin e : ‘I had the privilege of seeing the studio in the summer of 2021 and meeting its current owner. It is a remarkable survival’

It features a small dark room (above) where films would have been processed, along with a glazed roof and glass-paneled side

It features a small dark room (above) where films would have been processed, along with a glazed roof and glass-paneled side

The studio is expected to sell for between £8,000 and £12,000 at Charterhouse Auctioneers in Sherborne, Dorset, on August 4th

The studio is expected to sell for between £8,000 and £12,000 at Charterhouse Auctioneers in Sherborne, Dorset, on August 4th

The current owner bought the studio with the intention of restoring it so it could be used again by photographers. Above: The studio in a field, where it remained until coming up for sale

The current owner bought the studio with the intention of restoring it so it could be used again by photographers. Above: The studio in a field, where it remained until coming up for sale

The studio is seen when still in use. Auctioneer Richard Bromell said: 'This is a fantastic opportunity for someone to acquire what we understand to be a unique piece of Victorian photography history which would make a stunning studio or office'

The studio is seen when still in use. Auctioneer Richard Bromell said: ‘This is a fantastic opportunity for someone to acquire what we understand to be a unique piece of Victorian photography history which would make a stunning studio or office’

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