You’ve been framed!

an oil painting of a tower in a continental town

An oil painting of a tower in a continental town

I never know what I’m going to uncover when investigating the paintings that come through the Tynemouth Fine Art Gallery. Today, I’ve been photographing some of our artworks ready for upload to a forthcoming online catalogue and web shop (coming soon!). Removing this oil painting from its very old frame ready to be photographed produced an unexpected discovery.

In a waste not want not moment, the framer has apparently reused a photograph that he had in the workshop as the backing board for the frame.  So hidden behind the painting – for who knows how many years – we revealed this splendid portrait of a man in military uniform from the studio of Walery – Photographers to the Queen.

a black and white studio photograph of a man in military uniform. Walery Co Regent Street London

I wonder who this distinguished gentleman is

According to the National Portrait Gallery, Walery was the byline adopted by two photographers, a father and son, who used it as their working name. The elder, Count Stanislaw Julian Ostrorog (1830-90) was born in Lithuania. After a spell in the Turkish Army, he moved to London around 1857, becoming a British citizen in 1862. He first set up a photographic studio in Marseilles and then in Paris, which he sold in 1878, before opening a studio in London on Conduit Street and later on Regent Street. On his death in 1890, his son Stanislaw Julian Ignacy, Count Ostrorog (1863-1935) continued the business. Between 1890 and 1900, he partnered with photographer Alfred Ellis to become Ellis and Walery. In 1900 he moved to Paris and opened a studio there.

This particular photograph has the address of the studio as “164 Regent Sreet”.

The National Portrait Galley (NPG) website lists 197 portrait photographs associated with Walery and (although not all are illustrated) this one doesn’t seem to be among the ones pictured by the NPG.

I wonder who he is?