The Mysterious Albert Ceileur, Alphonse Leiningen, Count Albert Leiningen Victorian Photographer

For my birthday last month my husband bought me a collectors database, so that I could at last start to catalogue all my CDV’s Cabinet cards, Postcard photos and the rest I hope in time.
 I am trying to do a little every day, but sometimes I can be swayed to jump to something else!
At the beginning of last week I was filling in details of a CDV and looking close to see if there was any small writing I had missed, when I discovered a photographer that I hadn’t come across before and he has taken up last week with research, seems he led quite an eventful life, along with family tradgedies, here is what I found……………….

A.Ceileur. Photo Lithographer, 1 and 2 Shawbury Villas, Camden Road.
A man of mystery ! and even after spending many hours searching for all and any information about him..he still remains a mystery..I would love to know what happened to him !!.

1821-1827.. Birth dates in Hungary (1861 C) or maybe Austria (1871 C)
Albert’s wife Sarah Ann/e
1834.. Birth date for Sarah Ann(e) Greenwood in Norwich, Norfolk (Wife) 
Below on the 1851 census is the most likely family for Sarah, his wife, born Norwich, connection to Liverpool, where their first daughter was born, and also Sarah’s father here is an Artist, School Master. 
In 1861 this Greenwood family are living in  St Pancras, both parents with E/Amelia 18 and Sydney 11, also the Polish refugee(Captain) has gone with them.
Then in 1871 the parents are living in South Hackney with son William 26 and the Polish refugee now absent, maybe died since last census.
In October of 1871 a death record for James (father) in Hackney, and also earlier in 1871 (July) a possible death record for Sidney, one of their sons.
No trace in the 1881 census but have found possible record of mother Mary Ann in 1891 census a Pauper and a  widow, sadly living in Hackney Union Workhouse.
Also have found a death for a Mary Ann Greenwood in Hackney at the beginning of 1896.

Mr Ceileur
His various first names are Alphonse, Albert, Edward and Victor.
Surnames Leiningen, Leinintgen, Leihinge, Ceileur, Ceilleur and all the many variations of those names, lots beginning with S .. eg Sellor, Seelleur, Salor.. an impossible task to trace them all without sending for lots of certificates !
1854..The most likely marriage occurred on 7th August 1854 (banns called in July 1854) between Albert Vincent Leiningen age 33 and Sarah Ann Greenwood age 22, at St Dunstan and All Saints, Stepney. Both living at 1 Stepney Square.
1854..Birth of Albert Vincent Leiningen in Stepney
1855..Birth of Ida Ceileur Jan Q in Liverpool
1858..Birth of Albertine Ceileur Leiningen April Q in Pancras, London
1859/1860 In America..Albert Ceileur/Celiner listed as a daguerreian and photographer, 559 Broadway, New York City, N.Y United States of America. And also while here he wrote a series of articles for Humphrey’s Journal of Photography.
Also this record of him.. “Past and present of the United States. Mammoth photograph from original painting. Drawn by Prof. L. Lutby, of Switzerland, for James Meyer, Jr., of New York, photographed by A. Ceileur, of New York, coloured by E. L. Glew, New York, only copy of original. Framed and presented by the late Major W. V, M. Sherman”

1860..Birth of Albert Francis Leiningen (Leihinge) last Q. in Pancras, London

1861 census for Albert Ceileur and family

1861..Census..See above..Studios and living at 1 Shawbury Villas, Camden Road, St Pancras, London
Seems to have been here till about 1871, operating at both 1 and 2 Shawbury Villas…
1861..Death of Albert Francis Leiningen July Q in Pancras, London
1861..Death of Ida Ceileur Leiningen July Q in Pancras, London
1862..Birth of Ida Linda Clotilde Ceileur Leiningen Apr Q in Pancras, London (Louisa)
1862..Studio secretary James Philip
1862..25th November.Court reported by
(1) the Evening Standard on the 28th Nov  “The Reading Girl in Chancery, on Tuesday (25th Nov) Sir Hugh Cairns obtained a decree in the case of The London Stereoscopic and Photographic Company V Ceileur, otherwise known as Count Albert Leiningen. 
In order to restrain the latter from copying ‘The Reading Girl’ ‘Egema’ and various other works produced by the company. 
This is the first case under the new act of Victoria in which registered photographs have been protected from piracy.”
(2) Reported by Photographic News “Interestingly, in November 1862 the
London Stereoscopic Company secured an injunction to prevent a former employee
selling unauthorised copies of photographs of the International Exhibition, which
injunction also extended to any photographs that might thereafter be registered
by the Company; London Stereoscopic Company v. Ceileur, (1862)
(3) This report from PhotoLondon website.. “Albert, Count Leiningen, who worked under the name of Albert Ceileur and claimed to be Queen Victoria’s cousin…The ‘Photographic News’ described Mr Ceileur as an old photographer and a skillful one, who had entered the employ of ‘The London Stereoscopic Company’ on an ‘unusually handsome salary’ The company had obtained exclusive rights to produce views of the 1862 International Exhibition and expected to make considerable profits from the images, however cheap pirate copies soon flooded the market.
It emerged that Count Leiningen or Mr Ceileur was the source of these pirated pictures! He had copied the originals and was running off large numbers for both export and domestic sale, asking 5s per dozen less than he was supposed to be getting in as the official representative of the company.
It was said that he exported nearly a quarter of a million copies. To this end he had set up a large Photographic establishment employing ‘sixty hands.’
At this time it was maybe the largest photo business in Britain. Another report suggests that a Photographer claiming relationship with royal blood was bound over and had to pay heavy damages and costs for pirating carte portraits.”
1871..Census..See below..

1871 Census Albert Edward Ceileur and family

1871..A Partnership dissolved..

for the company………Le Roi, Claude & Co

Later in 1871

William Row Frost seems to have continued the business at these premises until about 1875, then I have found records of him living and working in Dunedin, New Zealand from 1881..He died there in 1911.

A Royal Connection?
I have tried to follow up on Alberts claim in court to have been related to Queen Victoria..yes there were ‘Leiningen’ relatives of our Royal family and even children born at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight at around the same time as some of Albert’s children, but I have found no-one of his name/s among them.
So it seems Albert was on a flight of fancy in more ways than one ! 
Queen Victoria’s connection to Leiningen family…
Queen Victoria’s mother Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld married on 21 December 1803 at Coburg Charles, Prince of Leiningen (1763–1814)(Her first marriage and his second) whose first wife, Henrietta of Reuss-Ebersdorf, was her aunt. 
Charles and Victoria had two children. When Charles died she married The Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn..And their daughter Victoria was born in Kensington Palace, London on 24th May 1819.. So our Queen had half siblings who were Leiningen family.
There are various links to follow up on the internet tracing Leiningen families from Hungary and other Country’s in Europe like this one below  =
House of Leiningen

1881..Frustratingly I cannot find any of the surviving family in this census.
1882..Death of Alberta Ceilleur (Albertine) age 23 in July Q Camberwell, London

This is the last record I can find of any of the family, I have trawled the different sites looking through the 1881/91/1901/11 Census records, also marriage, death records and others, but cannot find any of them at all, but to be honest as I have said there are so many ways their name could be written down it is almost an impossible task…
They may have travelled to Canada, America, New Zealand, Australia..there are possibilities on passenger lists…
I think I just have to accept that he and his family shall remain a mystery…………
If anyone does find,or know of any more info on the family I would love to hear from you…

Till Next time then………………………………………….


  1. Thanks:) this is just one I cannot seem to leave, I just have this strong feeling that there is more info there to find! So frustrating not to know what happened to the family !


  2. Have you found out anything else about Ceilleur, Lynn? I have a photographic family tree of Queen Victoria by him, I bought it at auction, he’s fascinating isn’t he? Best wishes from Claire


    • Hi Claire
      That sounds brilliant!! I’d love to see it ! No I haven’t found out any more, must have another look at the family when I have time.
      I don’t like sharing my email, but can you send me a pic via Twitter message or maybe Facebook page message…Thanks for getting in touch, kind regards Lynn


  3. Very interesting article. A friend recently found a coupe of cdvs by Ceileur in Italy, but could find out nothing about him. You have filled in a lot of blanks – most entertaining, too!

    Liked by 1 person

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