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

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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