This image, taken at the studio of Jno. Davis & Sons, Barrow in Furness, is one of the more unusual offerings from my collection. Family portraits are ten a penny, as are studies of fashionable men and women. This photograph belongs to an entirely different genre, the fascination of the Victorians with the grotesque side of society.
It is difficult to make out whether the sitter is male or female, in their everyday dress or dressed up for some theatrical occasion. What is noticeable is the girth of the subject, with the low cut neckline of the ‘dress’ accentuating the width of their shoulders. The pillbox cap is of a type that men would wear, while the striped stockings reflect a more feminine aspect. Attempts have been made to discover who this person might be but so far no answer has been found.