ARTHUR ALBERT COLLINGS / dit: ESMÉ COLLINGS (England, Somerset 1859-1936 / act: London)
Esmé Collings was a notable Brighton photographer, miniature painter and film maker. He was born Arthur Albert Collings towards the end of 1859 at Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, the youngest son of James Collings (b. ca. 1816, Weston-super-Mare), a successful bootmaker, and his wife Elizabeth (b. ca. 1818, Gloucestershire). The couple's eldest son, James White Collings (b. 1851, Weston-super-Mare), became a master printer, but Arthur Collings and his brother, William Edward Collings (b. 1856, Weston-super-Mare), followed their father's trade of bootmaking.
At the time of the 1881 census, Arthur Collings and his older brother William were living with their parents at 59 Bristol Road, Weston-super-Mare. Their 65 year old father, James Collings, was entered on the census return as a "Bootmaker, employing 10 persons". Arthur Collings, aged 21, and his 24 year old brother, William, were both described on the census return as bootmakers. James W. Collings, Arthur's eldest brother had left Weston-super-Mare and was working in London as a master printer. In 1880, James W. Collings had married Mary Ann Roberts (b. ca. 1853, Camberwell) and was living in Camberwell in South London.
In 1887, Arthur Albert Collings married Keturah Anne Beedle (b. 1862, Weston-super-Mare), the daughter of William Henry Beedle (b. ca. 1831, Bristol), an upholsterer and house furnisher, and his wife Eliza (b. ca. 1833, Wales). Both Arthur and his wife Keturah had artistic talent and it is possible that they were brought together through their interest in art. It is very probable that at the time of their marriage, Arthur and his wife were working as artists or photographers. It was around the time he started his solo career as a professional photographer that Arthur Collings adopted the middle name of Esmé. Around the time of his marriage to Keturah Beedle, Arthur Collings entered into a business partnership with the photographer William Friese Greene (1855-1921), who had previously operated studios in Bristol and Bath and was later to gain some notice as a pioneer in making 'moving pictures'.