Short hair

Short Hair W

A short styled haircut on a round faced lady

A rather fashion forward choice for this young lady, the short hair was not common for most women as it is today. There could be several reasons why she cut her hair. Hair was cut when one suffered a high fever, in the hopes that removing the hair would help the patient cool off. It could have been damaged in a fire; hair is extremely flammable and open flames were common during the 19th century. She could have suffered from a bad case of lice, and the hair shaved and the scalp treated with kerosene. She could have sold her hair to raise funds, a la The Gift of the Magi. Human hair was used in the hair pieces so popular with upper middle class and upper class women to augment a woman’s own hair. The various fashions – from pompadour to ringlet curls – put a lot of strain on the hair and sometimes, women just didn’t have a lot of it. In some cases, short hair could have been seen as shameful, but some young women and teenaged girls cut their hair short for fashion alone.

Short Hair back

Constantine Jennings, Photographic Artist

The high neck and puffed sleeves put this photo in the 1880s.  The CDV was made by Constantine Jennings, Photographic Artist at 38 Bridge Street in Chester, England.




Lady with a book

Lady with book W

Shall I read you a story?

Lady with book back

London Stereographic & Photographic Company

This is a really lovely 1860s image, showing a lady with a very full skirt and the drop-shouldered bodice so popular during that decade. She is seated, holding a book in her left hand and nothing in the right – although it looks like she is pointing. I think she was just holding her hand funny. She has bracelets on each wrist and a long necklace that appears to match them. She also has some type of chain necklace with something – perhaps a clock – hanging about mid bodice.

Also of note are the lovely pleats at her waistline, and also the pointed yoke of the skirt. I haven’t seen anything like that in my travels through antique photographs. The pleats are lovely as they are doubled on top of each other with wide spacing in between the sets. This spacing likely gave her skirt a nice smooth appearance. Her bodice appears to have been gathered onto the skirt yoke and has large rosettes on it. It is rather unusual.

Finally, you will see that she is wearing a beaded hair net on the very back of her head. Her hair is styled in the typical fashion, glossy from oil or pomade, and then covered once styled.

The photograph was made by the London Stereoscopic & Photographic Company in Cheapside, England.

Uncle Charles

Top Hat W

Top Hat back


Up for your perusal today is Uncle Charles from Liverpool. I like his shiny top hat and well buffed shoes. They look to be a low boot with elastic insets to allow it over the foot. Elastic was invented in the 1820s by Thomas Hancock and his collaboration with Charles Macintosh led to the production of rubberized overcoats, among other things. Hancock finally patented his rubber processing machine in 1837 and became the leading producer of rubber goods in the world. Elastic was used in boots and shoes extensively, both in men’s and women’s fashions.

The photographer Uncle Charles used was Harry Emmens of 30 Church Street and 108 Seel Street, Liverpool. By the studio appointments, I’m guessing this CDV was made in the 1880s or 1890s. Stay tuned for more photos from this family. Someone at some point identified a few of them, but I haven’t had a chance to try to track anyone down yet…if I can at all.

This is a Sepia Saturday submission! Click through and explore as they did in times past, up the lazy river, around the bend and across the great oceans.

Take a tour of the world

Fred Taylor

Fred Taylor W

Fred Taylor leans on a chair

This CDV shows a man with fine whiskers, a fine coat and bow tie, clean if rumpled suit of clothes, and brogan style shoes, leaning his hand upon the back of a chair. I originally thought this photo was interesting but it didn’t really catch my eye. However, I took note of the weight of the pink paper it is mounted upon. This paper is slightly thicker than gift tissue paper, slightly finer than printer paper. It is quite delicate and I have not seen its like before now. What also caught my eye as I scanned the photo is that the lower edge of the photo was lifting slightly.

What mystery did it reveal, you ask? Take a look for yourself.

The man, revealed

The man, revealed

There in the corner on the back of the photo itself, is the name. Fred Taylor. I can’t tell you more than that, for as you can probably see the photo lacks a backmark or any photographer’s information. It came in the batch from England, but beyond that…. Fred remains a mystery.


The reclining tot

Reclining tot W

Just take a nap, dearie

This sweet little photograph shows a girl in repose, resting her head on her hand as though she is thinking deep thoughts. As I often do, I wonder what color her dress was. I am currently working on a dress for my daughter that is teal silk with raspberry ribbon trim, and so I am going to imagine this dress in those colors as well. I do wonder why the entire chair was covered by a blanket. Was it to manky for her liking? Did the photographer not want her wee shoes on his fine chair?

Reclining tot back

Photographer and Artist, A.D. Lewis

The back reveals that the image was made by Photographer and Artist A. D. Lewis at 113 Scotswood Road, Newcastle-on-Tyne. This may have been a secondary studio as it also indicates that “Old No. 5 Hinde St. Studio Unchanged.” I’m taking a guess at the decade of this portrait being made as the 1870s. There are slightly rounded corners, possibly due to age, but the weight of the card is not as light as those in the 1860s. The red ink used is unusual, but not unheard of, so that doesn’t help me. The style of dress is suggestive of the 1860s, but the style carried over to the 70s. Effectively I’m guessing by process of elimination. Anyone who knows better please feel free to comment and correct me. :-)



Artistic photograph shows long hair

Lush locks

Lush locks

Turning to a new source of photographs, I am delighted with this artistic image of a lovely young woman. She shows her unbound hair and is draped with a white robe. It’s rather suggestive for the times, don’t you think? It brings to mind a woman as she readies herself for sleep, brushing out her hair while in her dressing gown. To the proper Victorians, this might have been quite intimate. Her pose in profile, looking skyward is prescient of the glamorous movie shots of the 1930s. All we lack is back lighting and Max Factor.

Lush locks back

Window & Grove Photographers, London

As you can see on the back of the mount, this was made by Window & Grove, photographers to the Royal Family at 63A Baker Street, Portman Square, London W. The address is reminiscent of another Baker Street house. Do you know which one?

My knowledge of photographers in Britain is limited on the best of days, and my knowledge of the geography of Britain is fairly limited as well. I can find London on a map and I’m aware that Scotland, Wales and Ireland are all parts of the greater British Isles. I could not tell you if this was a tony address as I could of a New York city direction, however, so if anyone is so inclined to enlighten us all, please do in the comments.

I am putting this up as a return to Sepia Saturday, the blog party that takes you to vintage photo websites from around the world! Sepia Saturday doesn’t require following a theme although a thematic prompt is provided every week. I discovered in the past that I focused so much on meeting the theme that I lost the fun in the old photos. And, after a refocus of this site on 19th century photos, a return to Sepia Saturday seems in order as well. So, press the button, my friend! Send me back in time…

Trot on over!

Big Buttons

Large buttons, big bow, frilly lace

Large buttons, big bow, frilly lace

I would really love to see the rest of this dress, because it has so many features just in this tiny portrait. We have large decorative buttons that appear to be velvet covered, a large bow at the center of the neckline, and frilly lace standing up under the young lady’s chin. I like to imagine she worked hard on making this dress and that it is a bustle dress with lovely draping on the skirt that mirrors the velvet trimming on the bodice. This is the last in the Saurman & Lovejoy set, but does not carry a backmark. She is unnamed and unknown.

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