Even back in Victorian times fathers would do anything to keep thier daughters happy. A great big butch Victorian Daddy clutching a doll — perhaps his little darling insisted that dolly had to be in the picture and he had to humour her (photographs took ages to set up at that time and keeping children still must have been a nightmare. Still, dolly or not — this man looks fierce.
A photograph of a woman from the 1890′s. She’s clearly beautiful and her outfit and jewellery are gorgeous:
The women is unidentified and from a collection in the State Library of Queensland. I wonder if she was an actress or someone well-known at the time. She — and her pose — look so polished, as if she was no stranger to the camera. Or perhaps she was just a self-composed individual, confident of her beauty. I’m also wondering if that is a jet fob watch chain she has on her dress? We bought one recently to put in the shop but haven’t got around to it yet. Jet was usually associated with mourning jewellery but I don’t think she is in mourning garb — that dress — that totally wonderful dress — was probably an a rich dark colour which obviously wouldn’t show up in that image.
Photochromes can be so lovely to look at — this one is of a beach in France and dates from around 1890:
Photochromes pre-date colour photography and are a sort of cross between a photograph and a print. The heyday of these types of images was from around 1890 to 1910. With the invention of colour photography photochromes were rarely produced and most firms who made them went out of business by the 1930′s.
This image is of an unknown boy soldier at the time of the American civil war:
He is clearly still a child — and has that seen-too-much look in his eyes that we still see in the faces of boy soldiers to the present day. One photograph I looked at — I cannot seem to locate it just now — showed a sixteen year old boy who had achieved the rank of sergeant. Some of the boys are so young and small that they are swamped by their uniforms and it might be that many of them did not live long enough to grow into them. Sometimes thinking about it is just too much to bear — the pity of war and our seeming inability to prevent it.
These Victorian women look to be from the same family and they — or their servants — must have spent hours putting together these elaborate hairstyles.
I know these hairstyles were probably very fashionable at the time but I think they are highly unflattering. The dresses, on the other hand, have got some trussed-up appeal but I’m not that keen on those wide cuffs (a pet hate). The women look as if they have great figures but most of that will be due to corsets (that seems quite a bitchy comment, when I read it back…).
Most photographs of Victorians show the sitters looking very serious and sombre but there’s a bit of a trend just now for publishing photographs of smiling Victorians. When you first see an image of someone of that period with a great big cheesy grin on their face it’s a bit of a jolt to pre-concieved notions but it’s lovely to see and goes a long way to break down the separation between the past and the present.
Seemingly, this photograph has being doing the rounds for a while (though today is the first time I’ve set eyes on it).
I’ve read that the date on the caption on the image is probably wrong, as Niagara Falls did not freeze in that year — and also that it is unlikely that the water would totally freeze over , no matter how low the temperature drops. But the photograph is meant to be authentic — just wrongly dated. Anyway, who cares — I just like the look of the photograph. I love to look at old images of places which are now well-known landmarks — all that as-it-was-then stuff. I particularly like it when the photograph is of a now well-known building which is in the early stages of construction and it is especially nice when there are some people in the picture (so I can check out what they were wearing).
I’m still using my Tumblr blog as a kind of for-my-own-use repository for images I like to look at. Pictures often say enough, without the need for words and in that, of course, Tumblr excells. Anything with rain in it I love. Beautiful rain, it changes everything; excitement charges through the air when rain is around.
Image from my Tumblr blog
We bought a pile of Victorian cabinet cards recently — mostly to sell in the shop but also because we like collecting them. Usually we buy ones where the sitters are wearing pretty elaborate costumes — all dressed up in their Victorian best for their day in front of the camera — but we bought this one because it stood out as different from the rest:
At first we thought this was a sweet looking older lady but the more I look at it the more I find her slightly sinister — and possibly not as old as I first thought:
There’s something about the look in her eyes that I don’t like (apart from the fact they appear to be looking in two different directions). And I think she only looks older because of what might be an absence of teeth. Or perhaps not — I sometimes read sinister into practically everything.
I’ve got this image on one of my other blogs but I’m putting it here because its one of my favourites. I’m not too sure why I like it so much — maybe I like the woman’s style or the dog, or the seeming spontaneity of it – or that there is just something about that one moment of time that I find touching, somehow. It was taken in China, sometime in the 1930′s. I found it in an old box at the fair or a market.