English Families: The 1850s


Figure 1.--This 1/4 plate ambro type has no information associated with it. We think we have the mother and her two children. The younger woman might be a daughter or perhaps an aunt. The boy look to be about 13-years old. He wears a suit withn vest that does not match. It looks to be a striped vest or perhaps corduroy. He has what looks like an Eton collar, although not a large one which he wears with a stock bow. loking somewhat like a large bow tie. Both women war similarly styled dresses, alhough with different fabric. Mother holds a plain straw hat. The younger wonman holds a book.

Photography was becoming more common in the 1850s. New photographic processes were developed. We note Daguerreotype, Ambrotype, and tintype portraits in America, For some reason we have been unable to find many of these portraits from Britain. We are not sure precisely why. Surely there must have been many such portraits taken. Trade mark rules seem to have impeded the industry's development and thus the number of available images. We see younger wear pantalttes with tunics and older boys wearing pants with tunics, both white pants and pants matching the tunic. Boys that had not yet been breeched. After breeching boys from fashionable families wore tunics for several years. We see some boys wearing capes. Vested suits werecommon. Boys wearing shortened-length pants might wear stripped stockings.

The Alexanders (1850s)

Here we see a substantial Victorian family in the 1850s. Unfortunately we do not know where in England they lived. This is the family of John B. and Anna Alexander. They had 10 children. Victorian families could be quite large. This print came from the photographer's personal album, which had a date range of 1853-1857 on the album itself. The photographer appears to be Richard Dykes. There appear to be seven girls and three boys, although I am not positive about the younger children. The younger boys wears a tunic and notice that it is not a suit in that the tunic and trousers do not match. He also wears what looks like an Eton collar.

The Camerons (1850s-60s)

Julia Margaret Pattle after being educated un France and spending some time with her sisters in London society returned to India where she was born. While still in India she married Scottsman Charles Hay Cameron, a jurist and member of the Law Commission stationed in Calcutta (1838). He also had investments in Ceylon. She was still quite young, 23 years old. Cameron was was much older than Julia , but provided a comfortable life style for her. This was fairly common at the time. When her husband retired, they returned to England where they raised five children. A a sixth child was born in England (1857). They also adopted Mary Ryan. Julia's sister, Sarah Prinsep, help the Cameron's enter English society, especially the artistically and intelectually inclined. [Lukitsh, p. 286.] Sarah lived in London and hosted a salon frequented by smart artistic society. She lived at Little Holland House, the dower house of Holland House in Kensington. Popular artists and writers regularly visited. Thus when the Camerons returned to England, they had an easy entry into smart London society. It was here , Cameron met Poet Laureate Alfred Lord Tennyson. He invited them to his estate on the Isle of Wight. Julia was so taken with the location that she convinced her husband to purchased a nerarby property. They named it Dimbola Lodge after the their Ceylon coffee plantation. She also met Lewis Carol who photographed her and thge family. This probably raised her interest in photography.

Idealized Victorian family (early-1850s)

Artist Rebecca Solomon has left us a thoughtful image of an idealized Victorian family during the early-1850s in a painting entitld 'The Governess'. A well etablished Victorian gentleman has a young wife. The family is rather small, only one boy who is dressed in a velvet tunic and lacy pantalettes. He is being cared for by a governess who eens to have missed her change for marriage, perhaps because her family has no monet to attract a suhitor. At the time, gentele young woman had few possibilities up employment. Working as a governess in someone else's home was a rare possibility. Some even worked on the Continent.

Unidentified London Family (late-1850s)

This 1/4 plate ambro type has no information associated with it (figure 1). We think we have the mother and her two children. The younger woman might be a daughter or perhaps an aunt. The boy look to be about 13-years old. He wears a suit withn vest that does not match. It looks to be a striped vesgtor perhaps corfuroy. Hehas what looks like an Eton collar, although not a large one which he wears with a stock bow. loking somewhat like a large bow tie. Both women war simuilarly styled dresses, alhough with different fabric. Motherholds a plain straw hat. The younger wonman holds a book. All have razor parts. Notice the boy's sharp hair part and hair combed down ovrr his upper ear. This is one of the few Englush cased Ambros that we have managed to find. The cased was elegabtly tooled leather, different from the cases we note in America. The studio was Negretti & Zambra, foreign sionding names. They had studios in Hatton Garden and Cornhill, London.







HBC




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Created: 2:29 AM 12/14/2013
Last updated: 2:29 AM 12/14/2013