Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

The Duchess Camera

London and Paris Optic and Clock Company

Name: The Duchess
Manufacturer: London and Paris Optic and Clock Co.
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Construction: Folding bed style field camera, made of mahogany with dovetailed joints and brass fittings.
Production Period: Unknown


Plate / Film Size: ½ plate
Lens: Unknown
Shutter: Unknown
Movements: None
Dimensions (w x h x l):  
Date of this Example: c1890
Serial Number: No obvious serial on the camera itself. Identity plate of original owner on top edge.
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [x]
  • Hard to Find [ ]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 530

<Photographs to be added>


This camera is identified as a Royalty camera produced for, or by, the London and Paris Optic and Clock Co. The camera carries an inlaid label identifying it as 'The Duchess' on the rear panel above the ground glass. The maker is not identified.

It is a folding bed style of field camera, finished in Honduran mahogany of dovetail construction. It is fitted with a reversing back. The camera has a rising front and tilting back.

The rack and pinion has parallel, rather than spiral teeth. This change came about in 1895 for Watson cameras, so is likely to be sometime around this date or a little earlier (assuming this change spread through the industry at about this time).

The camera is a fairly conventional ½ plate field camera. It does not have a turntable (so no Royalty stamp); a tripod bush is inset into the baseboard. It carries a plate on the top identifying the original London owner of the camera, but this has been rubbed quite severely so the text is now hard to read.

The camera does not have a lens. The lens panel has clearly been recut at some point (DIY) to fit a larger mounting ring.

The brasswork is generally in good order, with an etched patternation surviving on most surfaces that have not been rubbed. The square section, double extension, tapered maroon bellows are in good condition, with no obvious damage or repairs.


There are a number of cameras in the Royalty range. There is some uncertainty about who actually manufactured the cameras, although they were evidently marketed by several different companies. I am not aware of an example that carries a makers name plate, so if you do know of one, please let me know!