Discussion in 'Ask The Experts' started by Andrew Davies, Nov 11, 2017.
Can anyone hazard a guess at the rough year of this photo from the attire?
I'm not very good on clothing, but from a quick glance at a couple of books I'd hazard a guess at about 1850-1870. (Hairstyle can also be a good indicator of date, but I'm not very good at that either.)
The dark (?black) dresses, sad faces and fairly prominent wedding ring suggest to me that this could be a mother and child in mourning. The flowers that the girl is holding are almost certainly significant: they've been hand-coloured to make them more prominent, but as well as that there was a whole language of flowers. If they can be identified, it should be possible to decode some meaning from them.
Finally, the physical image itself can provide good dating clues. Printing processes changed over time, as did the medium (glass, card etc), and the size and style of mount. So if you're able to scan the whole mount, and anything on the back, and tell us its size, that might be helpful.
This site might help
Mods - I tried to break the link (honest) but never seem to get it right, so if it needs breaking, please can you help?
Wow that has given me a lot to think about. I didn't realise there could be so much to a photo. The frame looks like a slate back and enclosed with glass at the front. This pic shows relative size to my hand.
Being up close Andrew, can you see much to describe of the brooch the Lady is wearing a her neck?
Is the child's dress skirt a tartan pattern of just stripes ? -which may be green.
edit photos 1865-70 show little girls with the straight across neckline, ruffled petticoats & or longer bloomers. Also the similar hair styling.
I reckon it dates from about 1860-1870 too
My thoughts are the same.
In agreement also.
A very agreeable lot we have here
The photo was given to me by my cousin yesterday and I was told this was my 2nd & 3rd Great Garandmothers.
What a wonderful gift, Andrew.
Just the other day a newly-acquainted distant cousin emailed me an image of similar vintage. It was my great-grandfather's 1st cousin, May - aged about 3. She was born about 1865 in Maine. The dress and hairstyle are very similar to the little girl in yours.
Here is the crux though...........The family story is that the little girl is Millicent Hutchinson and she was brought up by an uncle who was the governor of a London prison. I have worked back through my tree with concrete connections from my Great Grandmother and have her in all the Census' to 1861. Millicent Hodgkinson was born in 1856 in Milford, Derbyshire. She married William Butler in 1877, her father, William died in 1888. I am at a loss as to why the picture is a mournful one. Although a lovely gift, it has asked more questions than it has answered.
Sometimes in family history some questions we have are never answered. But that doesn't mean that I stop trying to find out, even if I revisit some ways down the track.
I believe there is no smoke without fire with these family stories and they have some origin yet to be discovered.
Bear in mind that the technology back then required the subject to stay very still lest they become a blur. Millicent (was she a Millie?) seems to be focused on something ahead and to her right, and might even be propped against something in the chair to encourage her to be still. A serious look is easier to maintain than a smile.
In my photo, little May looks almost scared. My "new" cousin (he's in his 80's) also included a close-up of her face - and she is a little blurred - which just enhances the frightened appearance.
Just a thot.
I don't think it is a mourning photograph; as Granny Barb has said, people had to keep still for the long exposures and a solemn face was easier to hold. Also the clothing would have been plain black I think - not the check/tartan of the child's dress nor the decorated collar and white cuffs of the mother's
Well done with the snips of such a small photo Andrew. Yesterday the similar photos I found were mainly from USA & again today from Civil War. The site link is way too long so I will try to give an idea here:
The broach wasn't easy as there are so many of them, I keyed in Ladies broaches /& mourning from 1800s & found many similar. They were probably such an individual thing so many styles. It may have been a gift especially chosen for her. Clothing however seemed to fit the time.
It may be that the Lady-your 3x Gt. G'Mother had been quite ill, which can leave it's mark for some time.
Does anyone have any idea what the flowers are? I did a quick search for language of flowers etc, and there seems to be plenty of info out there - my problem is that I'm not a keen gardener, so I'm not sure what they are.
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