Getting ready to party?

With the Festive Season approaching, here are a few Victorian images of people who could be on their way to a jolly social event. Not that you would know it from their faces. After all, it wasn’t the done thing to have a beaming smile in the 19th century.

Even so, some of the people featured above look as if they might enjoy a good night out or perhaps a day at the races. One example of this is the group of three young men in the top row, taken by Mr Mahalski of York. The young chap on the second row, by Mr Preston of Leeds, also presents an image of the man about town. The young man top right, top row, is wearing a flower in his buttonhole but seems much more reserved than the others.

The womenfolk are much more restrained, they let their finery do the talking. The two young women on the second row, with their lace-trimmed dresses, might well be off to the ball. The lady in between them is dressed up as if for a trip to the theatre or afternoon tea with friends. Her image was captured by Mr Brownett, 45 Duke Street, Cheltenham.

I included the two children because their character seems to come out in their photos. The little girl, though beautifully dressed, looks as if a party is the last thing she would enjoy. The little boy on the right dressed in tartan already gives the appearance of someone who will get out and enjoy life. His lively expression was captured by Evans & Co of Sheffield. The whip he holds is a symbol of his gender, and in a few years he will have progressed to short trousers, rather than a dress.

So, are any of them getting ready to party? If so, I hope they all had a splendid time


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New acquisitions (& welcome, new followers)

This gallery contains 6 photos.

Here are some recent finds for the collection. The next step will be to ascribe dates to each example and hopefully find out more about the photographers. I particularly like the Boak & Sons example, with its illustration of their … Continue reading

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Men of War

This gallery contains 8 photos.

  As we here in Britain prepare to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the end of the Great War, I thought it might be appropriate to show some of the military personnel from my collection. The first two in the … Continue reading

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Not just British photographers

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Looking at my blog, you might think that I only collect photographers from the British Isles. But no, I have a wide-ranging collection from countries all over the world, the Americas, Africa,the Antipodes, The East and of course all over … Continue reading


Heavenly Hosts

This gallery contains 3 photos.

As can be seen from the following examples, cherubs were a popular theme in carte de visite backstamps.  These ethereal creatures were often shown as manipulators of photographic equipment like camera or plates as in the cartes from H. Harper … Continue reading


Victorian babies

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Photographs of Victorian children are many and varied. Newborn babies and toddlers are recorded, usually anonymously. Swathed in christening robes, posed on furry rugs, their mother’s knee, or in one instance in a basket, they glance out at us from … Continue reading

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Going Places

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A collection of 19th century carte de visite photographs might be seen as no more than a series of images taken by long-dead photographers. However, look a little closer and a theme begins to appear. Many c-d-vs indicate that if … Continue reading

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