Headington history: People

Tour backwards
Tour forwards

Cyril Arapoff (1898–1976)

Cyril Arapoff (1898–1976) had a photographic studio in Headington from 1933 to 1938.

Born Kyril Semeonovitch Arapov, he left Russia after the Revolution and spent time in Paris and Germany before coming to England, having learnt photography at the studio of Annelise Kretschmer in Dortmund.

Arapoff’s house in Osler Road


Arapoff’s mother was a governess to the Russian emigré family Captain V. Narishkin at 3 St Andrew’s Road in Headington, and Cyril came to stay with them and from 1933 had a photographic studio in their house.

Arapoff then opened a studio at 41 Osler Road (right), whose address was then 19 Manor Road. He remained at this house until 1939.

Both Headington addresses are stamped on the back of the photographs he took during his period in Oxford.


Mike Seabourne in his book Cyril Arapoff: London in the Thirties (1988) says that Arapoff was so successful in his Headington studio that by 1935 he was considered by many to be the leading portrait photographer in Oxford.

The Oxfordshire Photographic Archive at the Oxfordshire History Centre in Cowley has 5,000 copies of his pictures, including some taken in Headington. To see many of them online, go to Oxfordshire Heritage Search and search for “Arapoff”.

In 1939 Arapoff left Oxford and went to work in the film industry, including the Crown Film Unit; and from 1961 until his death in 1976 he worked for the National Coal Board Film Unit.

Article by Malcolm Graham on Cyril Arapoff

© Stephanie Jenkins

Headington home Shark Oxford History home