I particularly like cartes de visite that have photographs taken outside, such as the one above. I am struck by the natural lighting, and how the baby appears to be wriggling causing mum to hold on tightly.
This second image shows two men posing on a stile. It’s as though they are taking a break during a walk. The photograph is badly faded and I had to do some processing to bring any detail out (including a thumbprint in the middle!).
This third and final image looks as though it might also be outdoors. In a back-yard perhaps? To me, the lighting is different to the previous two. So perhaps it is a photographer’s studio, set up to look like the outside.
A pity, then, that all three cartes de visite are unmarked and the photographers unknown. That might at least have provided a clue.
Recently found, this photograph of a young girl in a lacy outfit is presented on a rather battered board with the name ‘Irene M Hargreaves’ written on the back.
Alongside it was a cabinet card of a girl wear a similar hat and dress:
The handwriting on the back of this second photograph is more difficult to read, but my best guess is “Doris Mary Sandoe, aged 2 1/2 years, 1895”. According to census data a Doris/Dora Sandoe was born in Broadclyst, Devon c1893, the daughter of surgeon John Worden Sandoe. Is this the same Doris?
And where did Irene and Doris get their wonderful hats?!
Among the loose photographs in the Welsh album is this one of a beautiful young lady wearing a pearl necklace. It always makes me stop and wonder who she is. Taken by J E Purdy & Co. of 145 Tremont Street, Boston, it dates to the 1920s but unfortunately there are no other clues. It is presented in a brown folder with the photographer’s name written ornately on the front.
Printed on thin card this is a vintage copy of a photograph by W. Heath & Co., Plymouth. It is signed by ‘Edward Clarke’, who was a Victorian barrister and Conservative politician born in 1841. He took part in a number of famous legal case, representing Oscar Wilde in 1895 and (in a separate case) cross-examining the Prince of Wales in 1891. He was knighted in 1886 and lived into his 90th year.
Several other portraits of Sir Edward Clarke can be found on the National Portrait Gallery website.