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Photo of unidentified lady

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Photo of unidentified lady

Postby ksouthall » Tue Jun 01, 2010 4:06 am

Hello,
I was wondering if anyone can help date this photo please?
Or alternatively could anyone give me an idea of where it was taken and roughly how old the lady was at the time please? I have looked up "Fine Art Studio" on the Victorian Photographers' website but there is more than one studio. There was one in London and one in Glasgow. I was wondering if anyone else has any photos with the same photographer's motif, as that may help decide which city it was taken in. I would guess it is London as I am not aware of anyone being in Glasgow, but you never know.
Thanks,
Katherine
Attachments
Unknown Lady.jpg
Unknown Lady.jpg (220.04 KiB) Viewed 3785 times
ksouthall
 
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Location: Sussex

Re: Photo of unidentified lady

Postby ksouthall » Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:29 pm

I have just realised that I have a copy of another photo with the same background. Does anyone know if the backdrops photographers used were fairly standard or whether or not they were made especially for each individual studio?

The other photo was probably taken some time between 1900 and 1914 as it shows my great-greatgrandmother when she was in her 80s or 90s. The photo of my great-great-grandma was probably taken in Plymouth or Tavistock.

So another question would be, does anyone know how long would a studio keep a backdrop for?

Katherine
ksouthall
 
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Location: Sussex

Re: Photo of unidentified lady

Postby debsstock » Wed Jun 23, 2010 1:52 pm

I'd estimate some time in the 1890s from the type of sleeve, card-mount and lettering and general appearance, although I'm not an expert.

Hope that helps

Deb
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Re: Photo of unidentified lady

Postby ksouthall » Wed Jun 23, 2010 6:55 pm

Thanks for this Deb. I am guessing she was probably in her late 30s - late 40's, so was possibly born some time between about 1840 and 1860? Just a guess though as I have no idea. Any ideas on the lady's age and which end of the 1890s the photo was taken would still be much appreciated.

Thanks again for replying.
ksouthall
 
Posts: 1937
Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2008 7:26 pm
Location: Sussex

Re: Photo of unidentified lady

Postby debsstock » Tue Jun 29, 2010 6:34 pm

Hi Katherine

If pressed I'd say picture is from about 1892-94 (sleeves got much bigger at the top end after this) and I'd guess at age 35-45 - perhaps the younger end of that. It's really difficult to judge ages. I also wonder if she's wearing mourning dress - looks like all black, so perhaps a husband or parent had died within the previous year or so?

Hope that helps a little
Regards
Deb
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Re: Photo of unidentified lady

Postby ksouthall » Tue Jun 29, 2010 7:00 pm

Hello Debstock,

Thanks for replying. Is it possible that the lady in the later photograph is the same as the lady in the photo attached to this post? I believe the second photo was taken in about 1880 when the subject was aged about 20.

Any ideas from anyone would be greatfully received.

Thanks,
Katherine
Attachments
Possible Emmeline Spry.jpg
Possible Emmeline Spry.jpg (252.42 KiB) Viewed 3405 times
ksouthall
 
Posts: 1937
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Location: Sussex

Re: Photo of unidentified lady

Postby debsstock » Tue Jun 29, 2010 10:05 pm

Hi Katherine

I definitely think that the ladies in the the two pictures could be one and the same - take a close look at the ears in particular - they are very similar in shape and angle, and ears are quite distinctive (US immigration used to require ears to show in visa photos as they can help with identification). Also, the shape of the nose, especially between the nostrils where it appears to "droop" slightly in both pictures, suggests it's the same person, and the set of the eyes is similarly wide. If they're not the same woman then I'd say they are very closely related.

As to the date of the second photo, my immediate reaction was late 1860s because of the very sloping shoulders and slightly low-set sleeves, and also the hairstyle - centre parting, pulled back into a bun, with ears showing. Actually, however, a similar hairstyle was also prevalent in the 1880s, and the high neck with "pie-crust" frill is very characteristic of the 1880s, so overall that's what I'd go for - and it could be as early as 1880, but not really earlier than that as hair tended to be more elaborate, worn higher on the head and with a fringe, and sleeves were set much higher in the 1870s. It's a shame we can't see the skirt as that would probably help to solve the question.

I'd say late teens to 20 for the age of your young lady - so that might just tie in with the other pic if she didn't "wear" too well as she got older!

All the best
Deb
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Re: Photo of unidentified lady

Postby ksouthall » Thu Jul 01, 2010 3:13 am

Thanks Deb.

I had thought the ears and nose looked similar, plus the eyes and eyebrows. If it is who I think it could be, it is possible she is wearing one of her mother's dresses in the earlier picture as her mother died in 1873 and I would imagine they had kept some of her best clothes rather than give them away. As they were a rural family in Devon, I also believe she would not have kept up to date with all the latest fashions so would anticipate her clothing being about ten years out of date.

If it is the same person in both photos, then I think she is the only sister of the young man in the attached photo. This photo has a similar date of about 1880. If so I think the lady in both photos could be my great-grandmother. If the later photo was taken between about 1892 - 1894, there is a very high chance that she was pregnant at the time as she had the following children:-

Emmeline b. September 1888
Honour b. February 1890
Harry b. April 1891 - died aged 30 hours due to "premature birth debility"
Thomas b. February 1893
John b. February 1894 - died aged 16 hours due to "premature birth debility"
William b. March 1895

If so, it is not surprising she had not "worn too well". She could even be pregnant in the later photograph.

I am not sure why the later photo would have been taken though, unless it was because the family were returning to Devon for a visit. There were a couple of deaths in the family in 1893 - her husband's cousin and aunt, who they lived near in Hertfordshire, so she could have been wearing mourning clothes because of that.

Thanks again for your help,
Katheirne
Attachments
Thomas Spry Junior.jpg
Thomas Spry Junior.jpg (228.38 KiB) Viewed 3360 times
ksouthall
 
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Location: Sussex

Re: Photo of unidentified lady

Postby debsstock » Sat Jul 03, 2010 6:12 pm

Hi Katherine

It had occurred to me that the yoke part of the dress in the earlier picture could be an addition to an older garment, so your suggestion about wearing one of her mother's old dresses could be right.

As regards the pregnancy, I think it was fairly unusual for pregnant women to be photographed (modesty and all that) but the pose behind the chair, whilst not unusual, could be a strategic way of providing a bit of screening if the desire for the photo was paramount. And if it was taken on a rare visit "home" to Devon then that might provide a pressing motive. It's also possible that the dark dress was not a mourning outfit, just a practical/discrete choice for someone who was travelling and/or pregnant.

Men's clothes and hairstyles are often more difficult to date - they tended to change less rapidly - and I'm less clear about them than women's fashions, but I THINK the early 1880s fits, or possibly even the late 1870s. Sorry I can't be more helpful here.

Regards
Deb
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Re: Photo of unidentified lady

Postby ksouthall » Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:14 pm

Hello Debstock,

Thanks for your latest reply. I suppose it's possible that the lady isn't Emmeline after all, or that it could have been taken later than 1895 as Emmeline probably did not keep up with the latest fashions.

The only other question I have is would it have been usual to take a photo of a wife and mother without her husband and/or children? If anyone has any thoughts on this, they would be greatly appreciated.

I think I may have to have another look at the family tree to see if there is anyone else the photo could be of, although I can't think of anyone offhand.

Thanks again,
Katherine
ksouthall
 
Posts: 1937
Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2008 7:26 pm
Location: Sussex


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