The Other Buffham Brother: John Hardiman Buffham
Buffham also had a studio in Baltimore, Maryland, which he ran under the name Buffham Brothers.
This is the other Buffham of Buffham Brothers: John Hardiman Buffham (1855-1940). Like George, John Buffham immigrated to the US from England in the 1870s and settled in Baltimore with his wife, Jessie, and mother, Mary Ann Johnson Buffham.
George and John first appear in the US census records in Baltimore in 1880 as “picture dealers.” They might have been exposed to the business through their father, George Richard Buffham, Sr., who had been a London carver and gilder–probably of frames.
George was apprenticed to a London “spectacle-maker,” and the training in grinding glass lenses must have served as a good background for an understanding of photography.
George Buffham moved to Annapolis and gained the appointment at the Naval Academy sometime between 1890 and 1900. He sold his studio, located at 48 Maryland Avenue, near Prince George Street, in 1912.
Buffham photographed many officers, Academy athletic teams, graduating class groups, as well as members of the Maryland General Assembly, and outdoor scenes of Annapolis and the Academy. The Maryland State Archives and the Library of Congress each hold small collections of his photographs.
While George focused on photography, John Hardiman Buffham gravitated toward business, eventually working as a representative of Baltimore’s Resinol Company. The company made cremes and soaps developed by Dr. Merville Hamilton Carter in his private practice. Buffham, who divided his time between Baltimore and England, became the company’s representative in London.
John died in London in 1940, leaving an estate of nearly £6,000 to his two daughters, Edith Mary (Buffham) Varney and Jessie Mabel (Buffham) Curry.
While George and John both kept a substantial presence in England, a third brother, carpenter Thomas Henry Buffham (1852-1921) settled in Port Chester, Westchester County, New York, for good. His descendants became solidly American, while John’s remained in England.
This cabinet card photograph lists the studio’s address at 116 South Broadway, Baltimore, a location that Kelbaugh’s Directory of Maryland Photographers says Buffham occupied between 1880 and 1889.
George Buffham’s bust portrait of John takes full advantage of John’s dark good looks, penetrating eyes, strikingly smooth, pale complexion and high forehead. Leaning dramatically toward the camera, John’s confident gaze compels the viewer to acknowledge and admire him.