Thorne & Co. - Photographer
2 Spencer Street, North Shields, London, England
c. 1896While one might think that this photograph depicts a serving British soldier his rather dramatic pose lead me to believe
otherwise from the very start. The pose that he a struck seems a bit more melodramatic than most real soldiers would have
been capable of displaying in front a camera - he seems ready to spring from the steer-horn studio chair and attack the
Since there was no information recorded on the photograph itself that may of offered a clue to his identity I began to research
the photographer with the hopes that I might perhaps find another identified example of the same photograph. I soon found
out that Thorne & Co. seems to have specialized in photographing theatrical subjects which confirmed my first suspicion that
this man was an actor costumed for a role and not an actual soldier. Unfortunately I was unable to find anything that offered a
clue as to his name.
As is the case with such research my inquiry did uncover an interesting association via the photographer with a very well
known celebrity of the 20th Century. I came across another cabinet photograph by Thorne & Co. taken in 1896 of a six year
Arthur Stanley Jefferson who came from a family of stage performers who themselves were fairly well known in their time.
While the name Arthur Stanley Jefferson may not ring many bells to day the pictured young man would go onto become one
half of the most famous comedy duos of all time after moving to the United States and joining forces with a rotund attorney
from Georgia at the Hal Roach Studios in Los Angeles - Stan Laurel.
|Unfortunately the link to the original young Stan Laurel
cabinet photograph is no longer working but this cropped low
resolution version was found online. It is interesting to note
that young Arthur (or Stan if you like) was posed standing
next to the very same steer-horn chair show in the above
photograph and quite possibly the same palm tree and
animal skin carpet. Since both photograph's card mounts are
identical I can only assume that both photographs must have
been taken at very near the same time.
I thought that perhaps the above actor may have been a
member of the Jefferson family but he bears no resemblance
to Stan's father Arthur Jefferson and the sitter is far too old
to have been Stan's older brother Gordon. Given this and
based on past experience I suspect that this actor's identity
will eventually be determined.