Robert George Murduck


A Photographer in England

circa 1897 to 1936


-  How His Photos are Identified  -


Robert George Murduck tagged each of his photographs in a distinctive way, but he generally operated under the byline 'R. G. Murduck'.

His stock postcards, the earliest ones, at least, which must have been sold through his studio / storefront at 34, The Strand, in Exmouth, Devonshire, between about 1898 and 1920, show hand-written (manuscript) 'labels' along the bottom edge of the photograph. As seen below, most of these show simply as 'MURDUCK PHOTO' along with the subject being depicted. The photographic subject matter usually appears on the left side of the card, with 'MURDUCK PHOTO' on the right. A few instances have been found where the attribution placed on the right side is more fully 'MURDUCK PHOTO. EXMOUTH'.

The lettering invariably appears as white, usually in capital letters. This is suggestive of the probability that he inserted a clear label to the enlarger before the combined image was made positive on the post card stock. The label may have been a sheet of glass on which Murduck wrote the lettering along the 'bottom' edge, with something that would prevent light from passing through to the postcard stock.

Murduck Photo Manuscript Attribution

Murduck Photo, Exmouth, Manuscript Attribution

Such stock postcards appear to have been popular items, and they can be found in various places, both postally used, and unused. Ebay is currently one of the best places to find such items. Conditions of surviving postcards vary considerably - some are faded from too much light exposure; some are quite 'frayed' around the edges; some have been folded, and so on. A few are pristine.


Studio photographs and some later stock postcards printed to postcard stock in Exmouth show a small oval embossed logo (perhaps ½" wide), usually in the lower right corner, as 'MURDUCK • PHOTO • EXMOUTH'. As shown below, the raised 'embossed' lettering can be seen on the front, and the impressed or 'debossed' lettering can be seen on the back, in the lower left corner. Such studio postcards can sometimes be found postally used, or unused, most often in family collections. Ebay is again perhaps the best place to find such items, although they appear with much less frequency than do the above stock postcards.

Murduck Photo, Exmouth - oval embossed attribution, front

Murduck Photo, Exmouth

Embossed attribution

< front                  back >

Murduck Photo, Exmouth - oval embossed attribution, verso


Larger studio photographs taken in Exmouth and mounted to card stock generally show a debossed logo in the mounting card, again usually in the lower right corner below the photograph itself. This is known on both cream (as shown) and grey card. The text reads as 'R. G. Murduck / 34, THE STRAND, EXMOUTH', in a slightly up-slanted, rounded manuscript form. This type of photograph is found less often, and usually in family collections.

Murduck Photo, Exmouth - debossed portrait attributionDebossed Identifier on R G Murduck's Studio Photos


At least one large studio photograph from Exmouth which can be dated to 1902 is known to have had a label affixed to the back of the mounting card, in the centre of the card. The label identifies him as 'R. G. Murduck / Artist & Photographer / Exmouth'. Only the one example of this type of attribution has been seen, so far.

Murduck Photo - printed logo label affixed to back of photo, circa 1902Label Affixed to Back of Large Studio Photo


One promotional card - a bit taller than a standard postcard, shows a unique identifier, as seen below. This solid black typeface, angled in the bottom right quadrant of the photo [see Murduck Photo No. 0005 for an image of the entire card] reads as "Murduck, Photo., Exmouth.".

Murduck Photo, Exmouth - Attribution on Card Promoting Coronet Entertainers, 1905Murduck Attribution on a Card Promoting Coronet Entertainers, Exmouth, 1905










Another rather interesting form of attribution or identification has been found recently. This appears to be a 'brand' - an image that's cut in metal, perhaps such as brass, with sharp raised letter outlines, which was applied to the mounting card after heating. This has been found on one photograph so far - taken in 1909, and mounted to creamy card [see Murduck Photo No. 0008]. The attribution "Murduck / Exmouth." appears to have been burned in to the card. Very unusual.

Identifying by 'branding'Identifying a Murduck Photo by 'branding'






Some of Robert George Murduck's stock postcards with true photographic prints on them were being replaced by at least 1918. The subject of the image remains on the front of the card, in a quasi 'manuscript' style, but the attribution to the publisher has moved to the left side of the message box on the back side, running vertically up the left side of the card, as reproduced below. In this instance all of the printing on the back or message & address side of the card shows serifed lettering in green ink.

Murduck Photo - Attribution on Verso, litho postcards circa 1918Murduck Postcard Identifier, Reverse Side, Lithographic Postcards circa 1918


Some other lithographed postcards show colourized versions of earlier real photo postcards, with the subject matter and photographer's attribution found on the face of the card, often in the upper left corner. In all cases seen so far, the lettering is sans-serif, in red ink.

Murduck Postcard Identifier, Front Side, Lithographic Postcards circa 1919Murduck Postcard Identifier, Front Side, Lithographic Postcards circa 1919


After R G moved to Elland, in West Yorkshire, similar types of attribution are known to have been used. A significant difference noticed on the few real photograph style postcards seen so far, however, is that the placement of the photo description and the wording 'MURDUCK PHOTO' appear to have been reversed. In all instances seen from Elland so far, the text 'MURDUCK PHOTO' appears on the left side, with the photo description on the right, rather than the other way around in his examples from Exmouth.


Additionally, two styles of folding mounting cards are also known from Murduck's Elland period, as shown below.

Murduck Photo, Elland -small mounting folder frontMurduck Photo, Elland -small mounting folder front

Murduck Photo, Elland -large mounting folder frontMurduck Photo, Elland - large mounting folder front


Facts about Robert George Murduck's life, 1875-1947, can be found here. A gallery and a detailed description of all of his currently known photographs can be accessed here. All means by which Robert George Murduck is currently known to have identified his photographs can be seen here. Details about ways you can submit a copy of your photo can be found through this link.

If you have additional information about Robert George Murduck, or if you have a photograph (or photographs) which show an image of him or one of his studios, or which can be attributed to him, please ....

Contact Bruce D. Murduck   concerning any matter at all.