Sunday 24 July 2011

Five unknown children

This photograph is taken from H’s paternal grandmother’s photograph album.
Unfortunately we do not have any idea who the children are.
It is a delightful image in a studio setting, realistically set up with foliage and flowers along with a pretty lace curtained window as a back-drop.  It is interesting how much detail has gone into the studio setting, and how lifelike it looks.
On closer inspection there is an air of seriousness about the children’s expressions, and they do not look as carefree as children would today.  The eldest girl seems to be offering reassurance to the little blond girl, by placing her hand in a motherly way on her shoulder.
We question whether or not they are actually wearing their own clothes, and did the little boy really wear those spectacles?  The two girls sitting on the bench are holding a cat and a doll, which presumably belonged to the photographer.  May be all of this is the reason that they do not look entirely comfortable.
We should love to know more about them, who they are, and what became of them.


  1. Hello Rosemary:
    As you say what an interesting photograph which does, indeed, give rise on closer examination to all manner of questions. We love the idea of the studio 'backdrop'. Do you think that there was a selection from which to choose?

  2. I always find it poignant to look at antique photographs of children. We see them with whole lifetimes yet to unfold, while still conscious that those same lifetimes have come and gone.

    It's a beautifully composed photograph, and the children indeed look as though they have some concerns!

  3. Dear Jane and Lance - I don't think that I have seen such a detailed studio set-up on a photograph before. I shall now have to go and check all our old pictures!

  4. Dear Mark - I like your observations very much. Thank you.

  5. Rosemary, I always knew your blog would be full of sources of fascination. This is a wonderful thumbnail sketch of a moment long ago, and it opens so many thoughts about old photographs and how they were taken. Thanks.

  6. Thank you so much Kate. Your interest means so much to me. It was reading your wonderful blog that made me want to have a go.

  7. Dear Rosemary, I thought that the reason people looked so solemn in Victorian photographs was because the shutter speed was very slow and the same expression had to be held for some time - it was rather difficult to maintain the same quality of smile!
    I'm amazed by the complexity of the backdrop for a studio set. It is a lovely image, how sad not to know who they are. I have a case full of old family photos with too many faces unknown to me.

  8. Hello Rosemary - that is a very helpful comment. May be the children were not so anxious as they look after all. I would like to think that is the case - thank you.


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