Dating victorian photographs

dating victorian photographs

How to date Victorian and Edwardian photographs?

Family photographs quickly became an important part of Victorian life; a tool for creating memories, legacies and identities. All of these photographs come from the National Trust which looks after collections across its properties and provide a good example of how to date Victorian and Edwardian photographs.

How can you determine the date of a Victorian family photo?

But just as you can decipher the dates of Victorian family photos by photo type, women’s clothing styles and hairstyles, you can also do so by using fashion hints found in men’s clothing from the Victorian era.

Why was Victorian photography so important?

As Victorian photography developed, so did its role in society and culture. Family photographs quickly became an important part of Victorian life; a tool for creating memories, legacies and identities.

Why did Victorians take pictures of their dead?

All of this happening at the same time as advances in photography led to the prevalence of postmortem photos, where Victorians would haul out their dead, prop them up on stands, and take a picture worth a thousand words. These stands helped corpses look alive, and allowed them to be posed with their still-breathing family members.

How can you determine the date of a Victorian family photo?

But just as you can decipher the dates of Victorian family photos by photo type, women’s clothing styles and hairstyles, you can also do so by using fashion hints found in men’s clothing from the Victorian era.

How can I tell when a Victorian studio portrait was taken?

Nearly all Victorian studio portraits include details about the name of the studio and its business address on the cards on which they are mounted. From this information it is usually possible to use local trade directories to date when the photograph was taken—sometimes, if you are lucky, to within a comparatively short time span.

Are there any studio day books or records for Victorian family photographs?

Without a doubt, the question I am most frequently asked about Victorian family photographs is: ‘Are there any studio day books or records in existence that would help me date my photographs and identify the sitters?’ Unfortunately, it is very rare for the negatives and business records of local photographic studios to have survived.

What does printed text on an image in Victorian photographs mean?

Printed text on an image in Victorian photographs usually relates to the photography studio. In this picture, it refers to Edgar Davey Lavender, who operated a studio in Bromley from 1891. Finding out when a photographer operated is useful for dating Victorian images.

What is a Victorian death photo?

In others, symbols of death and time — like an hourglass or a clock — mark the portrait as a post-mortem photograph. By capturing the dead on film, Victorian death photos gave families the illusion of control. Although they had lost a beloved relative, they could still shape the portrait to emphasize a sense of calmness and tranquility.

How did people remember the dead in the Victorian era?

So many people came up with creative ways to remember the dead — including Victorian death photos. While it may sound macabre today, countless families used post-mortem photos to memorialize their lost loved ones.

Why do people take pictures of loved ones after they die?

Photographs of loved ones taken after they died may seem morbid to modern sensibilities. But in Victorian England, they became a way of commemorating the dead and blunting the sharpness of grief.

Are there any creepy Victorian photography tricks we know about?

Many families couldn’t pay photographers to take pictures of their kids and relatives that frequently. Thus, death was often the occasion that prompted paying for a pricey photographer… But that’s not the ONLY type of creepy Victorian photography trick we know about! One of these siblings is not like the others.

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