August’s image – an unusual character


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.


Published by qvictoria

A collector of Victorian photographs for many a long year. I'm interested in both the individual photographs and the studio advertising on the 'backs' of the images, Victorian graphic design at its most varied and interesting. My collection of "cartes de visite" photographs is housed in plastic pockets within a series of albums, numerically arranged in order as they are acquired. There are now roughly 3000 photographers and images in all. I use directories, newspapers and genealogical information to research the life and work of each photographer and their studio but there aren't enough hours in the day. This photo is one of my collection, chosen for the gentle expression in the face of the sitter.

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