This wedding photograph is a rich resource for anyone interested in the history of Irish costume or in wedding styles. It was taken ca.1910 by John McCrae who ran a studio in Phibsborough, opposite the Mater Hospital and another at 113 Grafton Street, Dublin.
The ostentatious hats come in a variety of styles and materials including velvet, straw, lace, ribbons, ostrich feathers and even fur! Hats were definitely a means of conspicuous consumption for wealthy Edwardian women. Bonnets and caps were often favoured by the older ladies. Even the little girl at the back of the photograph wears a coif cap decorated with lace, a large ruffled collar and a full skirt. She is also wearing leather gloves!
The bride and her bridesmaid wear fashionable ankle-length skirts and matching cream bodices with a slim pinstripe. The bodices are embellished with cutwork at the neck and three-quarter length sleeves. Both wear lace blouses with high elongated necklines and sleeves of Guipure lace.
All the ladies wear gloves and jewellery with most displaying brooches fastened at the neckline of the their lace blouses. Two of the guests wear the highly popular tailor-made suits which included long narrow skirts and matching three-quarter length jackets. The young girl is the only female at the wedding without a hat and the little boys are wearing typical knee length white jersey suits with black shoes.
In contrast to the elaborate nature of the women’s outfits, there is little variation to the men’s attire. All wear single breasted sack or lounge suits with waistcoats. These are matched with stiff white rounded collars which were probably detachable – see here for a detailed outline of their use in the 1900s.
The photographer has succeeded in taking a good group photograph in which all of the party are clearly visible and calm looking. See here for another example of his work which I have blogged about previously. Unfortunately, I do not know whereabouts in Dublin the photograph was taken nor the name of the family!
Posted in Wedding Photographs | Tagged 1900s costumes, 1900s Dublin, 1910s costumes, 1910s Dublin, Hats, Irish Weddings, McCrae Photographer, Vernacular Photography, Vintage weddings, Wedding Photographer, Weddings 1900s | 2 Comments »
My guess is that this little girl is dressed as Schmutzli, the Swiss companion to St. Nicholas who carries a broom of sticks with which to hit misbehaving children! It was taken around 1905 and she is one of the three Ruthven-Smith sisters whose maternal grandfather owned Dromquinna House, Kenmare, County Kerry. Doreen (1895-1988); Gwendaline Laura (1898-1989) and Theophila (1902-1982) divided their time between Switzerland, Ireland and their father, Frederic Ruthven-Smith’s home Bramcote Hall, Nottingham. He was a keen photographer and it is likely that he took the images in the album I purchased online.
Sir John Colomb their grandfather owned 4,500 acres and was High Sheriff of Kerry and a member of the Congested Districts Board. His home was designed by the prolific architect James Franklin Fuller and is now a luxury hotel.
The album from which this photograph originates includes some amazing photographs of the estate as well as beautiful portraits of the three sisters. I hope to do more research into it and post about it in 2013!
Posted in Edwardian children | Tagged 1900s, Christmas photographs, Colomb family, County Kerry, Dromquinna House, Dunkerron, Edwardian children, Kenmare, Ruthven-Smith family, Schmutzli | 5 Comments »
William McKelvey lived on the beautifully named My Lady’s Road, Belfast with his parents, William and Annie, two sisters and a brother. He was 8 years’ of age in 1911 which means that he would have been around 15 when he sent this postcard from Larne in 1919. Perhaps he was at boarding school or had left home to take up employment? Either way Larne was not to his liking as the following message makes very clear:
“Dear Mother (N.G. Down here), Arrived safe but fed up. It is so awful down here. Hope you are all well. Nobody would get to like this place. I wish I was back for good. Will write again about Thursday. Rem[ember] me to the rest, Your loving son, Billy. – I am in bed just now, 9.30 p.m. This is near the Black Arch.”
One wonders how his mother might have replied to such a morose missive!
The postcard which was produced by Signal has seen better days. It looks like it might have been stuck in an album and you can see where the glue has yellowed, however, this doesn’t detract from this snippet of life from 1919.
Posted in Irish Postcards | Tagged Bank Heads Larne, Belfast, Irish Postcards, Larne, Signal Series Postcards | 1 Comment »
19th century studio photographers often used quirky props to put their customers at their ease, however, it didn’t always work! In an attempt to occupy the patron’s hands in a natural way, Lauder used a dome top bird cage. Robinson’s choice of a tennis racket is quite telling in that the sport was increasingly fashionable during this period.
Both of the girls photographed by the Dublin studios are, at my guess in their early teens. The outfit on the girl in the Lauder photograph is a better fit and not quite so over the top as the other’s. Both have their hair swept over their ears and tied at the back, however, unlike older women, their hair remains loose and flowing.
It was often remarked that the fashions of the day resembled furniture and in the example from Robinson this is definitely true. The girl’s dress has as many frills and flounces as the open tub armchair upon which she leans! The Lauder carte is by far the more superior in terms of its quality and composition.
Both studios had a long history in Dublin. Robinson & Sons of 65 Grafton Street were established in 1853 and claimed to be photographers to the British Army. Lauder Brothers were based at 22 Westmoreland street, opposite Carlisle Bridge (O’Connell Bridge).
Posted in Irish Studio Portraits | Tagged 1870s Dublin, 1880s Dublin, Carte-de-visite format, Carte-de-visite portrait, E & J Lauder photographers, Irish Studio Photography, Robinson & Sons Photographers, Tennis History Ireland | 1 Comment »
This postcard was sent on the 11th July 1951 and the brief message tells of simple seaside pleasures. The vibrant colours are a tad unrealistic for an Irish summer. The holiday crowd in the foreground wear typical 1950s fashions with most of the men in suits. The reds, pinks and greens of the clothing are particularly enhanced and exaggerated. It was produced by one of the largest postcard manufacturers in the world Valentine and Sons. I have featured other Irish images from their earlier ranges elsewhere in the blog and I wrote the entry on them in John Hannavy’s Encyclopedia of Nineteenth Century Photography.
Bray, County Wicklow has a long tradition as a holiday destination and a guidebook dating from 1867 pretty much describes this postcard view: “The remarkable promontory of Bray head rises boldly from the sea to a height of 807 feet and forms the most conspicuous object in the surrounding landscape from its summit, which is of easy access, an extensive view is commanded of the coast and adjacent country, of the town in its bearings, and the mountains by which it is surrounded,” from Sunny memories of Ireland’s scenic beauties: Wicklow.’ It was published in Dublin in 1867 by Browne and Nolan and included photographs by Frederick H. Mares of Grafton Street.
Posted in Tourism and Photography | Tagged Bray, F.H. Mares Photographer, Frederick Holland Mares, Irish Postcards, Irish Tourism, Postcards, Tourism and Photography, Vernacular Irish photography, Vernacular Photography, Wicklow | 3 Comments »
I love the colours in these early 70s holiday snapshots which I purchased from an online seller recently. There is something very evocative about this Kodak colour process with its strong red and brown hues.
The photographs were taken by Irish-American tourists in 1971 and include the slightly surreal image of an A and B pay phone. This pay phone system required the caller to contact an operator and if for some reason the call didn’t go through they could hit the ‘B’ button to return their coins. I wonder if the photograph was taken in an airport and that the green phone is perhaps a courtesy phone? I cannot make out the headlines on the newspaper which might have provided clues as to the time of year.
I’ve identified the clock tower in the background of this photograph as that on Waterford Quay which was built in 1881. The man is the foreground appears to be enjoying his holiday.
Upon their return to the United States, the travellers chose to photograph the items they had purchased during their trip to England and Ireland. It provides a great insight into the types of souvenirs which were popular with tourists during the period. I recognise several brands including an Irish Wade pin dish and a leprechaun figure which looks very like those made by Crolly in Donegal. They also bought plenty of linen teacloths and some strange looking records.
Posted in Irish Tourism | Tagged Colour photography, Found Photographs, Found photos Ireland, Irish Snapshots, Irish souvenirs, Irish Tourism, Irish-Americans, Kodak in Ireland, Pay phones, Polaroid, Tourism and Photography, Vernacular Irish photography, Waterford Photographs | 3 Comments »
For nearly one hundred years, the Midland Great Western Railway serviced the small County Cavan village of Crossdoney. This station, along with many others, closed in the mid-twentieth century. Only one third of the 5,600 km (3,480 miles) of track that existed in 1920 remains today. Many border counties, such as Cavan, are now without a rail service.
The remaining rail infrastructure and stations are beautifully recorded on the Eiretrains blog and you can see photographs of the near derelict station at Crossdoney here.
This photograph was printed on a postcard and may or may not have been available commercially. I cannot imagine that this odd and slightly blurred image was a big seller. Perhaps, it fits into the category of ‘boring postcards’ although I think that there is more to it than appears at first glance. Essentially it depicts nothing more than a sign and some railings, however, it also marks a very specific geographic location and signifies the way in which the railway connected such locales to the wider world.
Posted in 1950s Ireland | Tagged 1950s Ireland, Cavan, Irish Photography, Irish railways, Real postcards, Vernacular Irish photography | 3 Comments »