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1903: Daguerrotype star performer

Updated: Dec 8, 2023

We regret to record the death of another old and respected townsman who studied art in its severest sense and was one of the earliest photographic operators in Brighton. George Ruff had few equals, and decidedly no superiors. His marvellous pictures of the sun [Do not try this - blindness can result!] home secured him a long and lasting reputation; while his brush, so skilfully used, obtained him fame as an artist in oil and water-colours.

George Ruff was a man of indomitable spirit and steady determination. The son of a cordwainer, he was born in a small house close to the Gloucester Hotel, Gloucester Street, Brighton, on September 26th, 1826. After acquiring the rudiments of education, he studied the art of daguerrotype at the period when John Constable held the town.

Improvements in the positive process by no means hampered Ruff's craving after knowledge, and from 1865 to the end of his career he attended the Royal Academy exhibitions, where one of his pictures, illustrative of a wreck on Brighton Beach, 1857, was hung.

He was married at St Nicholas Parish Church, Brighton, on December 31st, 1851, and a son and daughter were the issue. Mr Ruff opened his studio at 65, Queen's Road, in 1855, and for twenty-one years was an ardent student and enthusiast in the propagation of pictorial art. We well remember the crowds that used to flock into Ruff's when the carte de visits rage was at its zenith, and he formed a big connection .

Keen astronomer

Mr Ruff was a zealous student of the science of astronomy, and shortly before his death took a view of Jupiter, his favourite plane. He was greatly prised the excellent telescope given to him by Thomas Ross, and to within a short time of the close of his career manipulated the Ross camera lens with unerring accuracy.

He was a thorough admirer of the standard drama, and generally was present with his beloved wife in the theatre when some valued performer held the boards. Possessed of a good memory, Mr Ruff's society was often sought after on account of his genial disposition and the wealth of anecdote he possessed.

Mr Ruff retired from business in 1867, and after a lingering illness expired in the presence of his wife and Mr and Mrs Ruff, jun, at one o'clock on Sunday morning, August 16th, 1903.The funeral will take place tomorrow (Friday), at half-past two o'clock, in the parish churchyard of the Holy Trinity, Cuckfield, in the grave where rest the remains of a beloved daughter.

20 August 1903, Brighton Gazette

Ilustration: Advertisement for John Whipple, daguerreotypes, Boston.

Contributed by Malcolm Davison.

Visit Cuckfield Museum, follow the link for details


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