Joseph Jacklett (also known as Joseph Jackolett and Joseph Jacolette) was born in Bristol around 1825. His unusual surname suggests that his father or grandfather originated from continental Europe.
An account of the photographic career of his eldest son Martin Jacolette (born c1850 Tavistock, Devon) states that his father (Joseph Jacolette) was “a Swiss miniature painter”. Joseph Jacklett (Jacolette) makes it clear on census returns that he was born in Bristol around 1825, but it is possible that Joseph Jacolette’s father was a Swiss-born artist.
There was a well-known lithographer named Jean Jacottet (1806-1880) who originated from Switzerland. An artist named Louis Julien Jacottet (possibly identical to Jean Jacottet) was active as a lithographer in France in the 1850s. Interestingly, when Joseph Jacolett was recorded in the 1841 census, his name was written down as “Josh Jackotett”. The 1841 census records Joseph Jackotett as a fourteen year old employee of William Graham, a pawnbroker of St Thomas Street, Bristol.
There is a connection between the Paris-based lithographer “J. Jacottet” and the West Country of England where Joseph Jacolette was born and brought up. Launcelot Elford Reed (1793-1845) was a Devon-born artist who resided in the market town of Tiverton between 1819 and 1845. In the mid-1820s, Launcelot Reed drew some studies of coastal scenes around Torquay in Devon, which were later turned into lithographs and published by the London printing firm owned by Samuel Straker (1806-1874). The artist who was employed by Straker to copy Reed’s drawings on to the lithographic stone was J. Jacottet.
The Straker series of lithographic prints, which were published around 1828, carry the credit “Drawn on Stone by J. Jacottet”. Further editions of Launcelot Reed’s “Views of the Torquay Area” were published by Auguste Bry of Paris.
Significantly, a print entitled “Babbacombe, Devon”, held by Torre Abbey Museum, includes the following credits printed on the margin of the picture – “Drawn by L. E. Reed, Printed by Auguste Bry of Paris, Drawn on Stone by J. Jackolett”.
The spelling of the surname of the Swiss-born artist and lithographer varied from one edition to another – Jacottet, Jaconett, and Jackolett are some of the versions used. Fourteen year old “Josh Jackotett” of Gloucestershire is the only person with a similar sounding name in the 1841 census. Could this boy be the son of the Swiss lithographer Jean Jacottet or Louis Julien Jacottet ? Or was Joseph Jacolette the son of another Monsieur Jacolette, the Swiss-born miniature artist ?
When the 1851 census was taken, Joseph Jacklett went under the name of Joseph Jackolete. At the time of the census, which was carried out on the night of the 30th March, 1851, twenty-six year old Joseph Jackolete was lodging at The Boot Inn, a public house situated in the High Street of Merthyr Tydfil in Glamorganshire, Wales. Lodging with Joseph was his wife Elizabeth, a twenty-two year old artist from Aberdeen, Scotland, and their three month old son John Martin Jackolete, who had been born in Tavistock, Devon at the end of 1850 or at the very beginning of 1851.
Elizabeth Martin (born c1828, Aberdeen, Scotland) was probably Joseph Jackolett’s common-law wife when John Jackolett was born in Tavistock. John Jackolett, Joseph’s first born son, initially went under the name of John Martin Jackolett, but in adulthood he preferred to be known as Martin Jacolette, the name he used when he worked as a photographer in later life. Although on the 1851 census return Joseph Jackolete’s wife, Elizabeth Jackolete, is described as an “Artist”, this might have been an error on the enumerator’s part, as the column headed “Rank, Profession or Occupation” alongside Joseph Jackolete’s name is blank. It is very likely that Joseph Jackolete was working as an itinerant artist at this stage of his career and so it is possible that the census enumerator has either entered the word “Artist” against the wrong name or that both Joseph and his wife Elizabeth were artists by profession.
By the Summer of 1852, Joseph Jackolett and his young family were in Lancashire and residing in the city of Manchester. On 8th June 1852, the union of Joseph Jackolett and Elizabeth Martin was solemnized at Manchester Cathedral. From Manchester, Joseph Jackolett and his family probably travelled to Liverpool, where they took a ship to Ireland. By the end of 1853, Joseph Jackolett had reached the Southern Irish seaport of Cork. Joseph Jackolett was now working as an itinerant photographer. On 14th December 1853, Joseph Jackolett placed a notice on the front page of the Cork Examiner newspaper advertising his services as a photographic portrait artist. The advertisement informed the inhabitants of Cork that Joseph Jackolett would be taking photographic portraits at “Mr Roche’s, adjoining Examiner Office”. After taking likenesses in the Irish seaport of Cork, Joseph Jackolett travelled 160 miles to the city of Dublin.
Joseph Jackolett worked as a photographic artist in Dublin for three or four years. It was while residing in Dublin that Elizabeth Jackolett gave birth to two or more children – Joseph William Jackolett, who was born in Dublin around 1856 and Elizabeth Jackolett, who arrived a year or so later. Another daughter, Sarah Jackolett, was born around 1859 either in Dublin or on the voyage back to England.
Not long after the birth of their fourth child, Joseph and Elizabeth Jackolett arrived in Leeds in West Yorkshire. According to Bernard and Pauline Heathcote’s study of early photographic portrait studios, Joseph Jackolett was working as a photographer in Leeds in 1859. The census taken on 7th April 1861 records the ‘Jackolet’ family at Albion Yard, Briggate in the centre of Leeds. Joseph Jackolett (mistakenly recorded as “John Jackolet”) is described on the 1861 census return as a thirty-four year old “Photographist”. Eliza Jackolett, Joseph’s Scottish-born wife, is also shown in employment, but the occupation recorded is difficult to decipher. ( Eliza’s occupation or profession is given either as “Artist” or “Assistant”). Four children are listed in the Jackolett household – John (Martin Jacolette), aged 14, Joseph, aged 4, Eliza, aged 3, and one year old Sarah, who was probably approaching her second birthday.
After a short stay in Leeds, Joseph Jackolett was on the move again. By the Autumn of 1862, the Jackolett family had reached Bolton in Lancashire, where a daughter named Isabella Jackolett was born. [ The birth of Isabella Jackolett was registered in the district of Bolton during the 3rd Quarter of 1862 ].
After a decade of working as an itinerant photographer, Joseph Jackolett eventually settled in Northampton where he established a permanent photographic portrait studio. Joseph Jackolett set himself up as a photographic artist at 30 Waterloo, Northampton.
Joseph Jackolett was based in Northampton for a period of six years between 1863 and 1869. It was while residing in Northampton that Mrs Elizabeth Jackolett gave birth to her sixth child, a daughter named Jane [ The birth of Jane Jackolett was registered in Northampton during the 2nd Quarter of 1864 ]. Sadly, the Jackolett family also suffered a loss during their stay in Northampton. Sarah Jackolett, Joseph’s second eldest daughter, died in Northampton early in 1866 before reaching her sixth birthday. [ The death of Sarah Jackolett, aged 5, was registered in Northampton during the First Quarter of 1866 ]. In 1869, Joseph Jacklett was listed as a photographer at 30 Derogate, Northampton in a local trade directory.
Joseph Jackolett was working in Northampton during the height of “cartomania”, the popular craze for obtaining carte-de-visite portraits. The carte-de-visite was a small photographic portrait pasted on a card mount the same size as conventional visiting cards (roughly 21/2 inches by 41/4 inches or 6.3 cm by 10.5 cm). This photograph format originated in France and so these small portraits came to be known as a ‘cartes-de-visite’, the French term for visiting cards.
A number of carte-de-visite portraits taken at Jackolett’s photographic studios in Northampton, have survived and provide evidence of Joseph Jackolett’s relatively long stay in Northampton. However, by 1870, after six years in Northampton, the Jacklett family were on the move again, this time making a journey to Europe. It was while travelling through Belgium, that Mrs Elizabeth Jacklett gave birth to her seventh and final child.
The baby daughter, who was born in the Belgian city of Antwerp during the Spring or early Summer of 1870, was christened Sarah Jackolett in memory of the young daughter who had died in Northampton four years previously.
By the time the 1871 census was taken, Joseph Jackolett and his family were back in England and residing in Folkestone, Kent. Since returning from the continent, Joseph Jackolett had anglicized the spelling of his surname to ‘Jacklett’. The 1871 census records Joseph Jacklett, his wife Elizabeth and five of their six surviving children at 14 Charlotte Terrace, Folkestone, Kent. Joseph Jacklett is described on the census return as a forty-four year old “Photographist”. Joseph’s eldest son, John Martin Jackolett had embarked on his own photographic career in Dover under the name of Martin Jacolette. The 1871 census records Martin J. Jacolette as a twenty-one year old “Photographer” lodging with a retired baker at 2 Clarence Place, Dover, Kent.
Joseph Jacklett (Jackolett) in Aldershot (c1873-1892)
Joseph Jacklett (Jackolett) arrived in the garrison town of Aldershot around 1873. Originally an agricultural village with a population of less than a thousand, Aldershot was transformed by the construction of a military camp on the surrounding heathland in 1854. The War Department had purchased thousands of acres of barren heathland around Aldershot to house and train troops then needed for the Crimean War. A military camp housing thousands of soldiers was constructed to the north of the village.
By 1861, the population of Aldershot had risen to almost 17,000, nearly 9,000 of which consisted of military personnel based in the Army Camp. Over the next twenty years the temporary huts were replaced by permanent, brick-built barracks for all branches of the military service, including the Cavalry and Artillery. When Joseph Jacklett set up his Army Photographic Studio at No. 3 Great Bank Street, Aldershot around 1873, the population of Aldershot had reached 22,000, including 10,000 soldiers housed in the army barracks. Not surprisingly, a good number of Jacklett’s customers were drawn from Aldershot’s military camp.
Joseph Jacklett’s studio was situated at the top end of Great Bank Street, a short walking distance from the Cavalry Barracks to the west and the original permanent army barracks to the north. Joseph Jacklett is listed as a photographer at 3 Bank Street, Aldershot in the Post Office Directory of Hampshire, published in 1875. A few year later, the name of Bank Street was changed to Grosvenor Road.
Joseph Jacklett and his children
When the census of Aldershot was taken on the 3rd April 1881, Joseph Jacklett was recorded with his wife and three youngest daughters at 3 Grosvenor Road, Aldershot, Hampshire. Jacklett’s original photographic studio had a business address of No. 3 Great Bank Street, Aldershot, but around 1877 the road name was changed and Jacklett was given a new address of 3 Grosvenor Road, Aldershot.
By April 1881, Joseph Jacklett’s eldest son and daughter had been married for a number of years. John Martin Jacklett (born c1850, Tavistock, Devon), Joseph’s eldest son, had embarked on a photographic career in Dover, Kent, under the name of Martin Jacolette. In the Spring of 1872, twenty-two year old Martin John Jacolette married Eliza Harbour (born 1846, Dover, Kent ) in his bride’s home town. Joseph Jacklett’s eldest daughter, Elizabeth Jacklett married Henry Beasley in Aldershot during the 2nd Quarter of 1876. By the end of 1881, seventeen year old Jane Jacklett had also married. Isabella Jacklett (born 1862, Bolton, Lancashire) married Henry Herbert Thompson in 1882.
At the time of her marriage, Isabella Jacklett was employed as an assistant governess, but by the time the 1901 census was taken she was running a ‘fancy ware’ shop in Aldershot. Joseph Jacklett’s youngest son Joseph William Jacklett (born c1856, Dublin) married Ellen Voller (born 1852, Bramshott, Hampshire), a thirty year old cook, in 1883.
Around the time of his marriage, Joseph Jacklett junior opened a photographic portrait studio at 160 Victoria Road, Aldershot, but he died the following year at the age of twenty-eight. [ See Joseph William Jacklett (1856-1884) in the panel above ].
Sarah Jacklett (born 1870, Antwerp, Belgium) was living with her parents at 5 Union Street, Aldershot, when the next census was taken on 5th April 1891, but within twelve months she, too, had married. On 22nd March 1892, Sarah Jacklett, described as the twenty-one year old daughter of “Joseph Jacklett, Artist”, married thirty-six year old Caleb Cobbett, a Warrant Officer in the Queen’s Regiment stationed in Malta. Sarah’s husband, Caleb Cobbett (born 1856, Woking Surrey) was the son of Mary and Charles Cobbett of Woking, Surrey.
In 1881, Caleb Cobbett was a Sergeant in the 1st Battalion of the 2nd Queen’s Royal Regiment based at the Aldershot Army Camp. It is tempting to assume that Sergeant Cobbett met Sarah Jacklett when he visited her father’s photographic studio to have his portrait taken.
Sometime before 1889, Joseph Jacklett opened a new photographic portrait studio in Union Street, Aldershot. The 1891 census records Joseph and Elizabeth Jacklett and their youngest daughter, twenty year old Sarah Jacklett residing at 5 Union Street, Aldershot. On the census return, sixty-two year old Joseph Jacklett is entered as a self-employed photographer (“Neither Employer nor Employed”).
The following year, Sarah Jacklett travelled to Malta to marry Regimental Sergeant Major Caleb Cobbett.
While his daughter was away in Malta, Joseph Jacklett died in Aldershot at the age of sixty-five. Mrs Elizabeth Jacklett, Joseph’s widow, closed her late husband’s studio in Aldershot’s Union Street and moved to Guildford in Surrey, where she died in 1894, aged 66.