Wrigglesworth & Binns - part one Wellington

Part one - Wrigglesworth & Binns, Wellington.
James Dacie Wrigglesworth

Part two - Wrigglesworth & Binns, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin.
Frederick Charles Binns
James Dacie Wrigglesworth (c.1836 -1906), was born in Middlesex, England the son of James Wrigglesworth, an alchemist, and Elizabeth Wrigglesworth nee Clayton.

James Wrigglesworth arrived in Lyttelton with his mother, on the "Samarang" on 31 July 1852, he was then a hairdresser aged 16. His mother Elizabeth Wrigglesworth was a Governess aged 48. He originally set up as a hairdresser and perfumer in London Street, Lyttelton.

Lyttelton Times, Volume II, Issue 86, 28 August 1852, Page 1

Later after moving to Wellington his mother ran a circulating library, bookseller's and fancy goods shop in Lambton Quay. She died at her residence in Cuba Street, Wellington on 14 June 1864 aged about 62 (1).

He married three times, firstly in Wellington about 1864 to Jane Caroline de Montmorency. There were two children of this marriage, James de Montmorency Wrigglesworth born 23 July 1866 at Cuba Street, Wellington (5) and Harold de Montmorency Wrigglesworth born about 1868. His wife and their two children lost their lives when the ship "Cyrus" ran aground near Wellington during a storm in 1874.

On board the Cyrus, as passengers, were Mrs Wrigglesworth, wife of Mr Wrigglesworth, photographer, of this city, and her two children. Mrs Wrigglesworth was standing on the deck beside Captain Andrews, each holding a hand of the younger child, while the elder sat close by. Captain Andrews intended, directly a line could be landed, to swim ashore with one child, and then return for the other and its mother, but his heroic plan was suddenly frustrated by a tremendous sea breaking over them and washing him overboard, so that he only just was able to save himself by catching a rope as he went over. The mighty wave broke the ship in two, and carried away the deck house, which, dreadful to relate, fell right on Mrs Wrigglesworth and the two children, crushing them to death. It is needless to say how earnestly and deeply we sympathise with Mr Wrigglesworth in his sudden and most terrible bereavement.
Evening Post, Volume X, Issue 17, 9 March 1874, Page 2

He married secondly at Saint Andrews Presbyterian Church, Hobart, Tasmania on 7 April 1875 (refer IGI) to Jessie Marshall or Pearson. There was one daughter of this marriage, Kate Wrigglesworth born about 1877. She was an actress known as Miss Kate Gair and married Dr. (Robert?) Schachner the Professor of Political Economy at the University of Jena (he died March 1912). Jessie Wrigglesworth died at her residence in College Street, Wellington on 26 July 1886 aged 42 or 43 years.

Evening Post, Volume XXXII, Issue 59, 26 July 1886, Page 2

above - The grave of Inez J Pearson and Jessie Wrigglesworth at plot 2708 Bolton Street Cemetery. It was photographed in the late 1960s by the City Sexton, P J E Shotter, prior to its being dismantled to make way for the Wellington motorway.
Alexander Turnbull Library

He married thirdly at St Johns Presbyterian Church, Willis Street, Wellington on 2 November 1887 to Isabella Waters Sutherland Gunn the daughter of William Gunn and Margaret Gunn nee Simpson. James Wrigglesworth was then aged 51 years, he gave his occupation as "artist". (4) There was one son of this marriage, Alfred Gunn Wrigglesworth who was born about 1891. Alfred Wrigglesworth was educated at Wellington College, and at the Church of England Grammar School in Melbourne. He served with the Manchester Regiment during World War One as a Second Lieutenant and died in France on 4 September 1916 aged 25 years. Lieutenant Alfred D. G. Wrigglesworth, only son of Mrs. Wrigglesworth, formerly of Jolimont square, has been killed in France. He enlisted as a private in the first Australian Expeditionary Force, and being wounded was invalided to a London hospital. Upon his recovery he accepted a lieutenancy in an English regiment. He was an old Melbourne Grammar School boy. (3)

James Dacie Wrigglesworth died on 25 October 1906 at no. 7, Valentine Grove, Malvern, Victoria and was buried at Kew Cemetery, Melbourne.

(1) Wellington Independent, Volume XIX, Issue 2075, 16 June 1864, Page 2
(2) Commonwealth War Graves Commission
(3)The Argus, Melbourne - Wednesday 13 September 1916, page 7
(4) Marriages Solemnized at St Johns Presbyterian Church, Willis St, Wellington
(5) Wellington Independent, Volume XXI, Issue 2394, 28 July 1866, Page 4

J. D. Wrigglesworth begs to announce to the Ladies and Gentlemen of Wellington, that he has commenced Business as Hairdresser in the Shop lately occupied by Mr. Elton, mattrass-maker (sic), and hopes, by skill and attention, to merit a share of their patronage.
Gentlemen's Hair Cut...6d.
Ladies' do...1s.
Ladies' Hair dressed for Balls and Parties. 1s. 6d. at their places of residence, 2s. 6d, July 5, 1854.
New Zealand Spectator and Cook's Strait Guardian, Volume IX, Issue 938, 29 July 1854, Page 2

Mysterious Robbery. — On Thursday a robbery of a cash-box, took place from the bookseller's and fancy goods shop occupied by Mrs Wrigglesworth on Lambton Quay. The cash box which we believe contained notes and money to the amount of £25, was kept under the counter in a place which could only be known by some one familiar with the premises, was discovered yesterday to be missing. Two theories are put forward to account for the theft, one being that the shop had been entered during the temporary absence in the back room of the person in attendance, and the other, that the robbery was committed by a regular caller. Meantime not the slightest clue has been found of the guilty person.
Wellington Independent, Volume XVII, Issue 1806, 20 December 1862, Page 3

Swan and Wrigglesworth
January 1864 to January 1866

New Photographic Studio.
We perceive that Messrs Swan and Wrigglesworth (late Mr G. H. Swan), Lambton Quay, have erected a most appropriate and commodious gallery for the purpose of practicing on a more extensive scale the art of photography.

The room is comfortably large, being 31 x 15 and is fitted up with every facility for the comfort and convenience of the sitter.

By a judicious contrivance the light is modulated or subdued at the will of the artist, a desideratum much required, inasmuch as sometimes it would, we believe, be impossible to obtain a picture when the sun is at a certain height. The firm have also converted the old shop into a waiting room, which is plentifully supplied with portraits of "old familiar faces" and the no less pleasing stereoscopic views of Home and Colonial scenery.

By recent arrivals the most improved cameras have been received and we can confidently assure our readers that a call at the Studio of Messrs. Swan & Wrigglesworth will amply repay them for their trouble;

STEREOSCOPIC VIEWS OF WELLINGTON AND SUBURBS. — Messrs. Swan & Wrigglesworth are at present engaged in taking stereoscopic views of this town and the surrounding neighborhood, which, we doubt not will meet with a ready sale at the hands of those colonists who wish to show their friends at home faithful sketches of the principal scenery of the " Land we live in."
Wellington Independent, Volume XVIII, Issue 2015, 28 January 1864, Page 2


Wellington Independent, Volume XVIII, Issue 2016, 30 January 1864, Page 1


Wellington Independent, Volume XIX, Issue 2065, 24 May 1864, Page 2

Wellington Independent, Volume XIX, Issue 2110, 1 October 1864, Page 4


 J. D. Wrigglesworth
 January 1866 - February 1874

Photography. — The studio of Messrs. Swan & Wrigglesworth is well worthy a visit at the present time, for among the various works of photographic art we observe pictures which must be pleasing to home friends. Besides the excellent portraits of those members of the New Zealand Parliament who honored Mr. Wrigglesworth with a "sitting" during last session, we notice views of important places and portraits of "Maori nobility;" while likenesses, alike striking and faithful, of town celebrities abound in the well-stocked reception-room of this studio. Foremost amongst the "nobility" we notice William Thompson — the king maker — an excellent picture displaying physiologically the characteristics of this great chief. Then again, there are groups of Maoris, the most striking of which is one formed by members of the retinue of Thompson who were present in Wellington a few days ago. These Maoris have doffed the European costume, for the sake of effect, and show themselves in "fighting trim" and "eager for the fray." In this first group there are three figures. Heta Tauranga, who is standing with a spear which he has evidently just drawn from the body of tho prostrate Hamiora Te Ahuroa, while Porakoru Ngaurui is presenting a double barrelled gun at the fallen victim. The expression on the countenances of the actors in this scene is very telling, particularly that of Hamiora who, with pitying up-turned eyes, has seized the gun and appears imploring his assailants to leave their murderous work unfinished, while the stolid dog-like expression of the features of Heta, who apparently thinks he has done his part of the work, and is simply waiting for Porakoru to fire the fatal shot which shall quit them of their enemy, is very life-like. The last figure is evidently relenting, and his face is marked by an expression of doubt, which must have inspired the victim with confidence. The manner in which these characters are "posed" is very artistic, while the picturesque back-ground lends additional attraction to the picture. A Maori representing the "waiting for the fight," impersonated by William Thompson's son-in-law — the victim of the last group — displays to advantage the muscular form and warlike bearing of the New Zealand warrior. The only incongruity in this picture, to our mind, is a handkerchief worn round the neck of the chief, while the rest of his costume is purely Maori. Heta is the subject of another picture in which he is represented as an "out-post" watching, and waiting for the approach of the enemy. He is kneeling on the ground beside a stream of water, resting on a double-barrelled gun, while each nerve appears strained to the utmost to catch the first sound of the enemy's foot fall, or get a glimpse of the approaching form of the hateful pakeha. Amongst other pictures we notice a number views of the principal places in and about Wellington, which are perfect gems in their way, and the price at which they are sold (1s. 6d. each) must commend them to parties wishing to inform their friends of the peculiarities of the Empire City of New Zealand. Mr. Wrigglesworth introduces every now invention and discovery in the science of photography, and evidently, taking a great pride in his profession, produces pictures which must give the utmost satisfaction to the "sitter," and always reflect the highest credit upon the artist.
Wellington Independent, Volume XXI, Issue 2407, 28 August 1866, Page 5


above - An early carte de visite by J. D. Wrigglesworth, Wellington of Sir Walter Clarke Buchanan, 1838 - 1924 stock dealer, storekeeper, runholder, politician.




Photography. — There is at present on view at Mr Wrigglesworth's photographic studio a collection of upwards of 600 portraits all in one frame, which are arranged in a most artistic and beautiful style that could be well imagined. Few people pass the place without expressing their admiration at the taste and skill displayed by the artist, and there are none who cannot find an old familiar face amongst the hundreds there represented.
Wellington Independent, Volume XXIV, Issue 2806, 6 March 1869, Page 4

Mr Moeller's New Buildings.
Two buildings are being erected in Willis street, opposite the Empire Hotel, to the order of Mr Moeller, Mr J. Read being the contractor. The total cost will be about £1900. The northernmost of the two buildings is intended us a soft goods warehouse for Messrs Samuels and Ladd, the other as an atelier for Mr Wrigglesworth... Mr Wrigglesworth's new atelier when completed will be probably the most spacious and handsome in the colony. The entrance will be through half plate glass paneled doors, with side lights. Immediately inside the entrance there will be a handsomely furnished art gallery, 24ft 6in by 19ft, to be used as a sitting room for visitors.

Behind this there will be a hall, from which will spring a handsome flight of stairs to the first floor, and the hall will communicate with two dressing rooms, one measuring 6ft by 10ft for gentlemen, the other 8ft by 10ft for ladies. The principal feature on the upper floor will be a room for taking solar photographs of full length size, the rest of the space being divided into artists' rooms, and other departments requisite in the photographic business. Mr Wrigglesworth, we understand and, will spare no expense in fitting up the interior handsomely, and his enterprise will no doubt meet with the reward it so well deserves.
Wellington Independent, Volume XXVIII, Issue 3971, 6 December 1873, Page 3

Wrigglesworth and Binns
from February 1874

A very old and much respected Wellington resident, in the person of Mr. J. D. Wrigglesworth, the well-known photographer, has returned to the Empire City, from Melbourne, after an absence of nine years. Mr. Wrigglesworth, who intends remaining here and resuming his profession, will, we feel sure, be welcomed by a host of friends.
Evening Post, Volume XXV, Issue 69, 24 March 1883

A New Photographic Process.
A number of gentlemen met at Messrs. Wrigglesworth and Binns studio yesterday afternoon to inspect a collection of photographs produced by a new process, patented by the firm, and known as the Matt-Opal type. The portraits ranged in size from panel to carte, and were for the most part those of well-known ladies and gentlemen in the city.

The peculiarity of the new process is that it gives to the ordinary albumenised silver photographic prints, a smooth, unpolished engraved-like surface. This is quite a new departure in regard to albumenised prints, as previous developments have been in the direction of increasing the polished or glazed surface, resulting with the aid of hot pressing, varnish and enamel, in a rather staring, garish picture, which is certainly not artistic, although photographers declare the effect is to bring out the detail, preserve the photograph, &c. Undoubtedly the detail is sometimes rather painfully brought out, and the mark of the "retoucher" becomes unduly apparent.

If the public like the pictures produced by the means we have named, and others of a kindred type, it is because they have hitherto seen nothing better, but we venture to say that glazed and enamelled pictures will not for a moment bear comparison with those produced by tho Matt-Opal process.

After the usual style of thing, the eye rests gratefully on such portraits as those shown by Messrs. Wrigglesworth and Binns yesterday. They have all the softness and delicacy of a well-executed Indian ink drawing. There is no glaze, they are tender and delicate in outline, the shadows are cool and soft, and the lights calm and tranquil. The general effect is really charming, and the merits of the process are enhanced by the highly artistic posing of the subjects, for which this firm is noted. The portraits are one and all most life-like, and the work stands even microscopic examination. We are quite sure the Matt-Opal type will commend itself to public approval as a most decided improvement on all other methods of silver printing, and we believe the cost will be very slightly, if at all, greater. The new pictures are to be on public view in the vestibule of Messrs. Wrigglesworth and Binns' studio to-morrow. We hope tho firm, will achieve as great a commercial success as they have an artistic one, in connection with this new process.

Evening Post, Volume XXXVIII, Issue 113, 8 November 1889, Page 2

The artistic side of photography has had special attention devoted to it within recent years, and the studio of Messrs. Wrigglesworth and Binns has always borne evidence of the progressive movement.

Among the latest mechanical aids to the art has been the setting up of a series of backgrounds of a kind which have been used in the studios of the Old World and America with most satisfactory results as regards the turning of the photograph into a picture.

Messrs. Wrigglesworth and Binns have recently received a series of cloths which bear the signature of Seavey, of New York, who is a well-known American scenic artist. These cloths greatly enhance the artistic effect and finish of the work done by the firm, the backgrounds including seascapes, interiors, Rembrandt-like effects in portraiture, and interiors. Some new chairs placed in the studio will tend to lighten the task of posing for portraits.

Very fine bromide photographic work has recently been done by the firm, an exhibition of which is to be given in the vestibule in Willis-street shortly. The vestibule itself is being renovated, the decorative colour being changed from pink to green, and when this is completed and the pictures are arranged for exhibition the display should attract attention.

Evening Post, Volume LVII, Issue 71, 25 March 1899, Page 4

A New Photographic Studio.
Many of our readers will regard, as important information, the fact that Messrs Wrigglesworth and Binns' new photographic studio in Willis street, Wellington, will be ready for business early in October. With the destruction by fire of their old premises, some months ago, passed away about the finest collection of finished pictures and negatives it is possible to produce by photography, and numerous residents of the Province have cause to regret the loss. The new premises are being fitted up in the very best style; no expense is being spared in providing instruments, furniture, and accessories, therefore it is safe to predict that before long this firm will have an exhibition of pictures in their vestibule unsurpassed by those which have been burnt. Messrs Wrigglesworth and Binns are noted throughout New Zealand for the beauty and originality of their photographs, which are characteristic of striking pose, splendid likeness, and dainty finish, and to those who possess them there is genuine satisfaction in knowing that the colouring will last for all time. Mr J. D. Wrigglesworth will, as before, have personal superintendence and control of the Wellington studio, so that patrons may rest assured of the production of interesting, beautiful and striking photographs. In another column is a preliminary notification; the exact date of the opening of the new studio, will be given in a future issue.

Feilding Star, Volume XXIII, Issue 75, 24 September 1901, Page 2


City Improvements.
Wrigglesworth and Binn's New Studio.
The photographic business of Messrs. Wrigglesworth and Binns has more than a local reputation. The firm's work is to be seen in homes and offices and public places throughout the colony, and not a few people have in years part taken advantage of a visit to Wellington to "have a sitting" in the well-known Willis-street studio.

The unfortunate fire of some months ago not only caused the destruction of thousands of valuable negatives, but temporarily banished the firm from the place where its operation had been carried on so successfully and for so many years. But there has now risen upon the site a bigger, brighter, and better building than that of old. The new studio of the firm is located in premises which immediately catch the eye of the person who passes along Willis-street. The three-story, substantial looking building has been neatly designed by Mr. W. C. Chatfield, and well and truly built by Messrs. J. and A. Wilson. But it is upon the interior of the building that taste has been lavished by Mr. Wrigglesworth, the design having been carried out excellently by Messrs. R. and E. Tingey. The colouring on walls and ceilings is in harmony with an artistic scheme of furnishing; and embossed zinc, which has been used for the covering of the walls and ceilings, has been effectively toned and decorated.

Upon the first floor, the main business of the firm is to be done, and this is approached from the street front by a stairway of easy grade, flanked by such a fine collection of photographs as makes the visitor pause often in the upward journey to scrutinise the individual exhibits.

Overlooking busy Willis-street is one of the handsomest of reception-rooms, furnished with the upmost good taste, with a beautifully painted ceiling, and containing so many attractive objects as to make it a pleasure to wait within such a bower. There will be no complaints from patrons about weariness of waiting amidst surroundings so agreeable.

Off the reception-room is the public office, which is the centre of a house-telephone system, and which also contains a lift communicating with the work-rooms above. The office has a store-room attached, and alongside, is a dressing-room which ladies will declare to be "a dream," so tasteful is its decorative scheme of geranium pink, and its pretty furnishings. Approaching the studio, the visitor passes a dressing-room for gentlemen, containing, like all the other room's, a neatly-set gas-stove, to warm wintry temperature, and a lavatory for the use of patrons.

Then comes the studio, commodious, well-lighted, conveniently arranged. With an area of 40ft x 20ft, it gives facilities for the taking of the largest of groups, and is equipped with the most modern aids to the photographer's art. Mr. Wrigglesworth has secured a series of backgrounds specially painted to suit the gallery, which has an elaborate system of shades for regulating the lighting. Off the studios are the changing-room and the dark-room, the latter being lighted by both gas and electric light.

On the second floor are located the workroom, and what may be termed the hive of the industry. In the eastern corner of the floor, Mr. Wrigglesworth has his "snuggery," which is cosy and comfortable-looking. Adjoining are separate rooms for the re-touchers and the artists, the toning, fixing, enamelling, mounting, and burnishing rooms; also storerooms for chemicals, etc. The enlargement department of the firm's business has become one of the first importance, and a commodious room has been set apart for this work. Off this room access is obtained to the fire-escape, and the whole floor is well equipped with lighting and sanitary appliances.

Up another flight of stairs, and the visitor comes to the "printery," a room specially designed to catch the sun in its various aspects, and with ample provision for its purpose. As an adjunct, there is a balcony, overlooking the back-door of Willis-street." Altogether, Messrs. Wrigglesworth and Binns's new premises may be classed as among the most up-to-date, and, in some respects, the best-equipped of the colony's photographic establishments, and they should attract many visitors.

Evening Post, Volume LXII, Issue 97, 21 October 1901, Page 6

The Cyclopedia of New Zealand
Wellington Provincial District 1897

Wrigglesworth and Binns (J. D. Wrigglesworth and F. C. Binns) Photographers, Willis Street, Wellington, and at Christchurch and Dunedin. Telephone 161. Bankers, Bank of Australasia, Private residences: Mr. Wrigglesworth, Upper Dixon Street; Mr. Binns, Christchurch. London agents: Messrs. Mawson and Swan.

The business of this celebrated firm of photographers was established in 1863 and was carried on by its originator, Mr. Wrigglesworth, until 1871, when he was joined by Mr. Binns. Their premises are large and of good appearance, being five stories high, and possessing a floorage space of something like 10,000 square feet. Messrs. Wrigglesworth and Binns have always maintained a very high excellence in all their work, and in 1879 gained first award at the Sydney exhibition. Again in 1881, they were similarly successful at Melbourne, and at the New Zealand exhibition of 1885 they carried off the only first award given in New Zealand for portrait photography. Though they have at various times done a good deal in the landscape branch, their efforts have been mainly devoted to the production of high-class portraits. The firm are patentees of the process which has become so well known under the name of the “Matt-Opal Type Process,” which gives a most delicate finish to the work. The perfecting of this process did much towards keeping the firm in the very foremost ranks of Australasian photographers. The newest speciality in their work is the “Mona” portrait, which is a bromide enlargement upon a new principle, giving to the picture very much the appearance of a direct photograph, though there is a softness and delicacy of tint far surpassing the very finest direct prints by the process which science has so far revealed to us. Messrs. Wrigglesworth and Binns are producing these works of art at a price which places them within the reach of all, and at exceptionally low rates for so fine and costly a process as the “Mona” is known to be. The Wellington business is personally superintended by Mr. Wrigglesworth; that at Christchurch by Mr. Binns; and the Dunedin branch, which is conducted under the name of Eden George, Limited, is in the charge of an experienced manager. This is a firm to be thoroughly and unreservedly recommended. Their trade extends throughout the length and breadth of the Colony and even beyond, while tourists and others passing through the Empire City invariably take away with them a specimen of the work which New Zealand is capable of producing at the hands of Wrigglesworth and Binns.

The Cyclopedia of New Zealand - Wellington Provincial District 1897


After over forty years' residence in Wellington, Mr. J. D. Wrigglesworth, that very clean old gentleman who always looks as if he had just left his bedroom mirror, and who swore an unbroken allegiance to the Beauford coat and silk hat many years ago, has left this place to settle permanently in Melbourne, whence he came as a young man. In 1863, he established in Wellington a photographic business that grew to be a very first-rate concern, and, after going into partnership with Mr. Binns, the firm's excellent work became known throughout the colonies and branches were established at Christchurch and Dunedin. If we mistake not, Mr. Binns still carries on the Christchurch business, but Mr. Wrigglesworth became too old and tired to continue longer in harness, and the Wellington business was sold out about a year ago. The old gentleman, who has been looking very poorly of late, had at one time a rather gay disposition, and was wont to "strut the boards" at intervals, in which attempts he was said to be no mean exponent of the dramatic art. His daughter, who went in for elocution with a good deal of success, took to the stage a few years ago, and, as Miss Kate Gair, is known as a fairly good actress. Mr. Wrigglesworth's many friends will wish him a speedy restoration to perfect health in Victoria.
New Zealand Free Lance, Volume VII, Issue 321, 25 August 1906, Page 3

Evening Post, Volume LXIX, Issue 4, 6 January 1905, Page 7

Following the closure of the Wellington business in 1905 the whole of the negatives were purchased by J. N. Isaacs, Victoria Studio, Manners Street, Wellington who then offered copies to the original sitters.

A cablegram has been received by Mr. P. Levi from Melbourne announcing the death in that city this morning of Mr. J. D. Wrigglesworth, who was a resident of Wellington for over 40 years. The deceased gentleman was born in London, and was about 70 years of age. He established business in Wellington as a photographer in 1863, and carried it on on his own account until 1874, when he was joined by Mr. F. C Binns, now of Christchurch. About two years ago the firm closed its studio here, and Mr. Wrigglesworth went to live in Melbourne about the middle of the present year. He had been in feeble health, for a considerable period before he left Wellington, but his condition became worse after he arrived in Victoria, and for some time before his death he had been confined to bed. In his younger days he was one of Wellington's leading amateur actors, and for many years he took an active interest in the affairs of the Wellington Amateur Operatic Society. He was, also a prominent Freemason and a member of St. Peter's Church. Mr. Wrigglesworth was married three times. His first wife and family were drowned through the wreck of the barque Cyrus near Happy Valley shortly after leaving Wellington for Newcastle. His second wife died in Wellington, leaving one child, now Miss Kate Gair, of the Brough-Flemming Company. His third wife and her only child, a boy of 14, are in Melbourne. The deceased was held in great respect, and his death will be generally regretted.
Evening Post, Volume LXXII, Issue 100, 25 October 1906, Page 8



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