The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

John Barrow Moss

John Barrow Moss

A carte-de-visite self-portrait by the amateur photographer John Barrow Moss of West Derby in Liverpool, a house painter and plumber by trade. His work as a photographer is only known through the survival of a small group of 32 cartes, the majority with a crudely printed paper label verso identifying him as the photographer, and two with inked inscriptions verso again identifying him as the photographer. All of the portraits are dated, the dates ranging from 1859 to 1871.

Born in Liverpool in 1803, he was the son of John Moss and his wife Elizabeth (née Barrow). He was christened at St Nicholas’s Church in Liverpool on 16 March 1803.

On 26 November 1835 at St Mary’s, Edge Hill, in Lancashire, he married Ann Birmingham Kirby (born 1807), the daughter of James Kirby, a Liverpool bookbinder, and his wife Ann (née Gibson).

At the time of the 1851 census he was living at 15 West Vernon Road, West Derby, Liverpool, with his wife and their four daughters: Ann Jane (14), Elizabeth E. (9), Mary I. (8) and Amelia J. (3). For profession he gave, ‘Painter (Master) employing 3 men’. Also present was one servant.

His wife died on 31 March 1860 at 34 West Derby Street, Liverpool. Her husband registered the death two days later. For occupation, he gave ‘House Painter (Master).'

He appears on the 1861 census, a 58-year-old widower living at 34 West Derby Street, Liverpool. He described himself as a ‘Master Painter employing 4 men [and] 1 boy.' Also present on the night of the census were daughters Elizabeth Esther (19), Mary Isabel (18), Amelia Jemima (13); his unmarried sister-in-law Elizabeth Golding Kirby, a retired governess; and lodger Gaetano Michaelangelo Ferri, a foreign correspondent from Italy.

When the 1871 census was taken he was still at the same address, still living with his sister-in-law but now with only one servant girl to keep them company. He gave ‘Retired Plumber’ as his profession.

He died, aged 75, on 31 January 1879 at 34 West Derby Street, Liverpool. His will was proved the following month by John Harrison Barrow, a draper of Ulverston, Lancashire; and Roger Barrow, a grocer in Liverpool.


Code: 125958
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