Camera Workers, 1858-1950

The British Columbia, Alaska and Yukon Photographic Directory, 1858-1950

Robinson, George

Robinson, George[1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

Male 1825 - 1895  (69 years)

Personal Information    |    Media    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name Robinson, George 
    Born 23 May 1825  Woodside, Dudley, Worcestershire, Eng., UK Find all individuals with events at this location  [6
    Gender Male 
    Home Address/Year 1854-1859  Nanaimo, BC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Address:
    Nanaimo, BC
    Canada 
    Business Address/Year May 1864-1865  Victoria, BC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Address:
    Government St. (opposite Selim Franklin and Co.'s office)
    next door to San Francisco Baths
    Victoria, BC
    Canada 
    Business Address/Year Jun 1865-May 1869  Victoria, BC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Address:
    Government St.
    W. side near View St.
    Victoria, BC
    Canada 
    Home Address/Year 1869  Victoria, BC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Address:
    Esquimalt Rd.
    Woodbine Cottage
    Victoria, BC
    Canada 
    Home Address/Year 1870-1872  Olympia, WA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Address:
    Olympia, WA
    USA 
    Business Address/Year Oct 1870-1872  Olympia, WA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Address:
    Main St.
    Olympia, WA
    USA 
    Died 19 Jan 1895  Inkberrow, Worcestershire, Eng., UK Find all individuals with events at this location  [6
    Association Victoria Theatre Photographic Gallery (Relationship: Owner) 
    Association Shakespeare, Noah (Relationship: Employer) 
    Person ID I75  Camera Workers | R, vol. 1, 1858-1900
    Last Modified 10 Feb 2022 

  • Photos
    Victoria Theatre Photographic Gallery, Government Street, 1875, by Charles Horetzky
    Victoria Theatre Photographic Gallery, Government Street, 1875, by Charles Horetzky
    Magnification of a photograph taken from the Driard Hotel showing the distinctive facade of the Victoria Theatre Photographic Gallery at the time it was leased to Noah Shakespeare by its owner S.A. Spencer. Image courtesty of BC Archives, Visual Records call number A-03456.
    Photographer George Robinson with his musical instrument instead of a camera.
    Photographer George Robinson with his musical instrument instead of a camera.
    Image courtesy of BC Archives, Visual Records call no. G-02871.
    Photographer George Robinson.
    Photographer George Robinson.
    Image courtesy of BC Archives, Visual Records call no. H-00686.

    Documents
    George Robinson's ad as a dentist, <i>First Victoria Directory, Second Issue, and British Columbia Guide</i> (Mallandaine, April 1868).
    George Robinson's ad as a dentist, First Victoria Directory, Second Issue, and British Columbia Guide (Mallandaine, April 1868).
    This ad appeared on a flyslip tipped in to the title page.
    Theatre Photographic Gallery's cartouche from the verso of a carte-de-visite.
    Theatre Photographic Gallery's cartouche from the verso of a carte-de-visite.
    This Victoria studio was owned by George Robinson and this photograph was owned by his great-grandson, R.S. Vickers (1917-2008).
    George Robinson's ad, Victoria <i>Colonist</i>, 4 Jul 1864, p. 2.
    George Robinson's ad, Victoria Colonist, 4 Jul 1864, p. 2.
    He notes that he has returned from a tour of the Northwest Coast, yet did not state that he had taken photographs. This was his coal-prospecting trip to Cape Beale.
    George Robinson's ad, Victoria <i>Colonist</i>, 29 Mar 1869, p. 2.
    George Robinson's ad, Victoria Colonist, 29 Mar 1869, p. 2.
    While in business as a dentist, he advertises his intention of selling the Theatre Photographic Gallery during his absence from Victoria.
    George Robinson's ad, Victoria <i>Colonist</i>, 9 May 1864, p. 2.
    George Robinson's ad, Victoria Colonist, 9 May 1864, p. 2.
    George Robinson's ad, <i>First Victoria Directory, Second Issue, and British Columbia Guide</i> (Mallandaine, April 1868), p. 82.
    George Robinson's ad, First Victoria Directory, Second Issue, and British Columbia Guide (Mallandaine, April 1868), p. 82.
    He also advertised himself in this directory as a "surgical and mechanical dentist."
    George Robinson news article, Victoria <i>Colonist</i>, 16 Jul 1864, p. 3.
    George Robinson news article, Victoria Colonist, 16 Jul 1864, p. 3.
    This was a coal-prospecting trip which he led and for which he kept a diary. This article contains extracts from his diary. Other than mentioning his occupation as a photographer, there was no other note in the article of his work as a photographer, meaning he likely did not take a camera with him.
    George Robinson news article, New Westminster <i>British Columbian</i>, 8 Jun 1865, p. 3.
    George Robinson news article, New Westminster British Columbian, 8 Jun 1865, p. 3.
    This article reports his departure for Haida Gwaii on a coal prospecting trip on behalf of the Queen Charlotte Coal Mining Company Ltd. The article points out he is the proprietor of the Theatre Photographic Gallery and is taking his camera equipment with him. No photographs from this trip have been identified. An earlier article in the Colonist reported on the departure of miners for Haida Gwaii and that Robinson was the manager on behalf of the company.
    George Robinson news article, Victoria <i>Colonist</i>, 30 Sep 1865, p. 3.
    George Robinson news article, Victoria Colonist, 30 Sep 1865, p. 3.
    This article again notes his management connection with the Queen Charlotte Coal Mining Company Ltd.
    Victoria Theatre Photographic Gallery news, Victoria <i>Daily Chronicle</i>, 22 Apr 1865, p. 3.
    Victoria Theatre Photographic Gallery news, Victoria Daily Chronicle, 22 Apr 1865, p. 3.
    S.A. Spencer is the photographer referenced in this item about photographs of President Lincoln.

  • Notes 
    • STATUS: Amateur (1858?-1859); Commercial (1864-1872).
    • BIOGRAPHICAL SUMMARY: Robinson came to Vancouver Island in the employ of the Hudson's Bay Company who sent him to Nanaimo in 1854 to begin coal mining operations. Robinson's first wife, Ann or Annie, and their two young children accompanied him on the vessel Princess Royal. According to Vickers (1983), a great-grandson, Robinson took up photography just before he left Nanaimo in 1859. Robinson may have purchased photographic equipment during a trip to San Francisco in 1858.

      After five years in England, he and his second wife, Caroline Dakens, returned to Victoria where Robinson apparently opened his studio in May 1864. By the following year he had moved into the Victoria Theatre Photographic Gallery which he would have purchased from J.W. Vaughan or his agent. During part of 1864 the first studio was closed while Robinson was exploring around Pachena Bay for coal. He also left the gallery in June 1865 for Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) where he was to manage the Queen Charlotte Coal Mining Company and "take views of the surrounding country." By 1867 Noah Shakespeare was overseeing the portrait work for Robinson who was reported to be "devoting his attention exclusively to outdoor photography. Robinson sold the Theatre Photographic Gallery in May 1869 to J.A. Craigg and concentrated on his dentistry practice which he had evidently begun in 1868. Robinson relocated his photography and dentistry practice to Olympia, Washington Territory, in October 1870 where he remained until at least 1872 when he returned to England.

      According to the Descendants of William Shakespeare Web site, both he and Noah Shakespeare are related and descendants of the English poet and dramatist William Shakespeare.
    • IDENTIFYING MARKS: "Theatre Photographic Gallery. G. Robinson, Proprietor. Victoria, V.I." on verso of carte-de-visite.
    • REFERENCES: MAL68; MAL69; Colonist, 1864 05 09/2, 1864 07 04/2, 1867 03 11/2, 1869 03 30/2; Columbian, 1865 06 08/3; The Echo (Olympia, WA), 1870 10 20/18 (fitting up studio formerly occupied by Yantis & Gray), 1870 12 01/66 (Main St. address), 1871 05 25/226, 1871 02 17/3 (street views of Olympia); Puget Sound Daily Courier (Olympia, WA), 1872 03 16/3 (views of Olympia); (Nanaimo) Free Press, 1895 03 13 (obit.).

  • Sources 
    1. [S46] COLLECTION: BVIPA (Reliability: 3).
      Carte-de-visite portraits

    2. [S12] MAL68, (Victoria, V.I.: E. Mallandine, 1868), 42.
      Victoria: Robinson, Geo., photographer, Theatre building

    3. [S3] Mattison (1980 Winter), David Mattison, (British Columbia Historical News), 6-7.

    4. [S356] Vickers (1984), Randolph Sydney Vickers, (Beaver 64, no. 2, Out. 315 (Autumn 1984):44-50).

    5. [S700] Vickers (Web site), Vickers, Randolph S.

    6. [S812] Descendants of Edward Shakespeare (Web site), Steve's Family History.