How to date Victorian and Edwardian photographs

Such cards usually have square corners. Men wore lounge suits with matching waistcoats by the middle of the decade. The photographs look like they are wearing heavy furnishing rather than dresses. The cardboard is thicker and old less flexible than a playing card and the printing on the date is typeset with clothing but usually one large word, and how a border, and the rest small and coloured inks may be used and a logo may appear. These photo from the s. Some still show full length and a carpet in the early s.

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Dating Victorian photographs from the dress detail What is extraordinary, in a way, is that there are cartes-de-visite photographs of Victorians from Britain and.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this website you agree to our cookie policy. Welcome to the fifth in our series of blogs about how to understand and interpret your old family photos. In this series, Jayne Shrimpton, internationally recognised dress historian, portrait specialist, photo detective and regular contributor to Family Tree, Your Family History and Family History Monthly magazines, dates and analyses different types of photographs and helps you to add context to your old family pictures.

Having learned in the previous blog how photograph compositions and studio settings changed over the years, we now look closely at what our forebears are wearing in old photographs. In any kind of portrait it is often the subject’s clothing that engages us most: fashion history is a fascinating topic and recognising the modes of different eras is an invaluable tool when trying to date unlabelled photographs. Dress is a vast and complex subject, but here are some pointers to help with understanding, identifying and dating the clothing styles of those family members from the past who stood before the camera in their ‘Sunday best’.

It was understood that clients visiting the photographer’s studio or, less commonly, those inviting a photographer to their home would be dressed in their best quality, most fashionable clothing. Wealthy subjects had many fashionable ensembles to choose from, whereas ordinary working-class ancestors usually donned their best outfit, kept for church on Sundays and special occasions.

Everyone wished to create a good impression in the treasured photographs that would later be shown to family and friends and might be displayed in an album, or hung on the wall.

Impressive photos in Victorian costumes – Old & New Photography

What was a gift of something I’d never book for myself turned out to be something great. I turned We had a really great time. The photographer was very professional. We will definitely go back soon! My mother is visiting me in London.

Copies of images may be purchased direct through their site. Related information​. We don’t offer advice on dating old photographs but you may find Gillian Jones’s​.

A fine Victorian family group but not much use unless you have some idea of the main people in the picture. Here we appear to have a Victorian patriarch, centre front, with his wife on his right , his sons and daughters possibly with their spouses and either his mother or his mother-in-law, next to the young boy. The young men all look to be in their 30s but probably range from 20 upwards.

Clothes can help identify the period in which a picture might have been taken — but not always. The stern preacher on the left is clearly dressed in the frock coat and clerical collar of the late 19th century — but he is still wearing the coat, below, 20 or more years later. This was not the case in the mid s when, even though cameras were used for family snapshots, every picture had to count on a exposure roll of film. In the century before most people did not even have the luxury of a camera and relied on special trips to the photographer for family portraits.

These might be a once-in-a-lifetime visit for some families and there are plenty who could not even afford that once.

Dating old wedding photographs

The cabinet card was a style of photograph which was widely used for photographic portraiture after The carte de visite was displaced by the larger cabinet card in the s. In the early s, both types of photographs were essentially the same in process and design. However, later into its popularity, other types of papers began to replace the albumen process. Despite the similarity, the cabinet card format was initially used for landscape views before it was adopted for portraiture.

Italian immigration in late-Victorian Britain. enlarge this picture. Italian Street Musicians in London, c. (Courtesy of The London School of Economics and​.

Over , photographs exist in collections at the National Library of Scotland, dating from the s to the present day. Mostly the photographs are part of the Archives and Manuscript collections , but others are held in our collections of maps , rare books and music , and in general collections and the Moving Image Archive. Often they are associated with other material — for example, in personal or organisational archives.

Scotland played a key role in photography from early on. The National Library’s forerunner, the Advocates Library, began acquiring books illustrated with original photographs in the s, when photography was in its infancy. Images dating from the early days of photography capture day-to-day scenes, chart social and economic changes in Scotland between the s and s. The collection includes original photographs by some of photography’s pioneers — such as Hill and Adamson, Thomson and Ross, and Thomas Annan.

There are also examples of the work of some of Scotland’s successful commercial photographers, along with daguerrotype portraits and handmade albums. In the papers of James Nasmyth is a photograph of a Paris rooftop, annotated by Nasmyth as dating from If the date is correct, this print would have pre-dated Louis Daguerre’s announcement of his ‘daguerreotype’ process to the public in The scope and scale of our photographic material means that our collections are strong in several areas, such as:.

One of the most substantial photographic collections is part of the Church of Scotland World Missions Board archive. With an estimated 40, images on glass slides, negatives, prints and photograph albums, the collection ranges from around to well into the 20th century. View a selection of the photographs in the International Mission Photography Archive.

Dating old photos

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Date. Hannavy, John. The Victorian Professional Photographer. Shire www.​ a list of Glamorgan.

The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over , works, , of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day. Advanced Collection search. Past display archive 25 March – 10 November This display commemorates the centenary of the death of Alexander Bassano — who established one of the most important photographic portrait studios of the Victorian era.

His sitters included royalty, aristocracy, politicians, and leading names from the military, sciences and arts. Bassano opened his first studio in London during the early s and was situated at Regent Street from Further premises were temporarily added to accommodate his growing clientele before his grand studio at 25 Old Bond Street opened in , where he remained. It was spread over three floors with several reception rooms and dressing rooms, a broad staircase and two main day-lit studios equipped with good-quality furniture and props.

When Bassano arrived at his studio in the morning, he usually found clients already waiting, and he often worked without a break until the sun set. Skip to main content Search:. We are currently closed until spring , while essential building works take place Become a Member.

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From ‘Street Life in London’, , by John Thomson and Adolphe Smith The subject of the accompanying illustration is a vendor of cough lozenges and healing ointment. He was originally a car-driver employed by a firm in the city, but had to leave his situation on account of failing sight. His story, told in his own words, is as follows :- “First of all I had to leave my place on account of bad sight.

It was brought on by exposure to the cold. Inflammation set in the right eye and soon….

Victorian and Edwardian Fashion: A Photographic Survey, Alison Gernsheim Family Photographs and How to Date Them, Jayne Shrimpton.

It has been running now for several years and in that time we have explored the lives of Victorian photographers and the people who sat for their portraits to be taken. The images on this site represent a wide range of 19th century Victorians from the lower working classes up to Royalty, from both Great Britain and the wider world. Whatever your interest in the world of Victorian photography, be it fashion, social history or even advertising, there is plenty here to interest and possibly entertain you.

You can leave comments, hopefully positive, on what you have seen or contact me for further information about the contents of the blog. The images above show a few of the other members of the animal kingdom to make it onto these little adverts. A stag, a lion, an elephant, a leopard? The bees as shown on the card of J. Perriman may indicate the hope for a busy, thriving business. Quite what the tortoise shows is uncertain, perhaps his aim was to be slow but steady.

The image above is one that I recently rediscovered among my collection of 19th century photographs. It was taken by Mr J. Hawke at his studio in George Street, Plymouth, England, around the middle of the s.

How to Date Old Photographs


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