William Isaac Marquand

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William Isaac Marquand (1837 – 1908) was a Guernsey-born Photographer, Methodist Preacher and Ship's Chandler.


William Isaac Marquand was born on the 16 June 1837 the son of Isaac Marquand a ships chandler and ship owner, and Julia Machon. He was probably named after King William IV, who died just after Marquand’s birth but before his baptism. He was baptised on 30 June 1837 at the Town Church, St Peter Port. He was the second son, and had four brothers and two sisters.


Marquand married Maria Rachel Le Messurier on 10 August 1864 (Town Church). She was the only surviving daughter of William Le Messurier, a Dyer, and Rachel Le Prevost. William and Maria Rachel had five children. A daughter Louisa Maria (born 1864), and four sons, Edward William (born 1867), Albert Henry (born 1869), Walter Isaac (born 1872) and James Le Messurier (born 1878 and died 1879).


Marquand originally trained as a cabinet maker and advertised as such in Mackenzies Almanack for Guernsey of 1860. However by the mid 1860s he had moved into photography, giving his occupation as "Artist" on his daughter's birth certificate in 1865. He operated a studio in Vauvert Sreett, and his main clientele was drawn from the country folk coming into the town. Most of his work was in the form of a Carte de Visite (an image 2⅛ × 3½ inches mounted on a card 2½ × 4 inches), a format invented in 1854 which became hugely popular throughout the world. The compositions tend to reflect the fashions of the time, with the simple full length shots of the 1860s being replaced by three-quarter length into the 1870s, and an increasing use of "rustic" props and backdrops.

By the time of the 1881 census he is described as a ships chandler’s assistant - presumably working for his father. It is unclear whether the change of career was due to the photographic concern being unsuccessful, or pressure from his father to join the family business. His elder brother Henry Isaac Marquand a woodcarver, and younger brother John Thomas Marquand a Methodist minister were living in England, and another younger brother Edward Bellingham Marquand had died of TB in 1862, so there may have been a desire on Isaac Marquand’s part for William to take a role in the running of the business. His father died in 1888 and William then ran the business for the next twenty years.

His father Isaac Marquand was a leading figure in Methodism, and William Isaac was also a local Methodist preacher, giving it as an alternative occupation to "Photographic Artist" on the 1871 census.


William Isaac Marquand died of heart disease on 13 April 1908 and was buried in the Marquand family vault at the Foulon Cemetery two days later. The ships chandlery business was taken over by his son Albert and remained a feature of the St Peter Port waterfront for the next 100 years.

Image Dating

A rough guide to the dating of his photographs can be obtained from the negative number that is usually written on the back of the image. The following table has been derived from a collection of his work in the posession of the Marquand family. This is an approximate guide only.

Year 1867 1868 1869 1870 1871 1872 1873 1874 1875 1876 1877 1878 1879
Negative No. 2400 3200 4400 6000 7700 9200 10500 11500 13000 14000 15000 15800 17000


  • Stephen Furniss, Picturing the Past (article), Guernsey Press, 17 January 2009.
  • Le Mesurier-Foster, Ray, Rough Index of the Le Mesurier Family, 4th edition (2010).
  • Foulon Cemetery Records, Island Archives Service, Guernsey.
  • Registers of the Town Church, Priaulx Library (microfilm copies).
  • Mackenzies Almanack of Guernsey, 1860.
  • Channel Island Census, 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871; The National Archives.
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