I have featured images from this Northern Irish album in a previous post. The photographs were taken by H.J. Malcomson from Belfast with a Kodak Vest Pocket camera between 1925 and 1932. Most snapshot albums are filled with images of family events and occasions, however, this photographer had artistic aspirations. Even though the prints are tiny (6.5cm x 4.5cms) the photographer has succeeded in creating stark and abstract images of large scale landscape features in Antrim and Down.
Posted in Irish Landscape Photography | Tagged Belfast, Found Photographs, Geological photography, Irish landscape photography, Irish Photography, Irish Snapshots, Northern Ireland, Snapshot Photography, Vernacular Photography | 3 Comments »
This portrait shows Elsie Thompson Harrison of Brighton Square, Dublin in her nursing uniform and it was most likely taken during World War One. Her family are listed on the 1911 census as owning a hardware business and as being part of the Plymouth Brethern – an evangelical movement established in Dublin in the 1820s. Her brother had the unusual name of Gordon Trizzant Harrison and I was able to discover that her sister studied at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art. I have located her on the online registers for the college: an excellent resource which is available through the website of the National College of Art and Design.
The portrait was taken by a firm called Lloyd’s of Dublin. Directories show that they were based at 30 Grafton Street from ca. 1910 until 1939. It was run firstly by E. Henry Lloyd and then by H. Lawrence Lloyd. The format is sized between a carte-de-visite and a cabinet card and has beveled gilt edges. The printing process is quite like those which were popular with Fine Art photographers for their grainy and painterly effects. Whatever the process used by Lloyd, its warm hues and the soft focus add to the subject matter and lend a sombre atmosphere to the portrait.
In contrast Lloyd also traded under the name of Mr Stickyback! See here for an overview of the sticky back photographic craze of the 1910s.
It is not clear whether or not Elsie was a fully trained nurse. Guilds and voluntary groups met throughout the country to prepare packs for soldiers or to take basic First Aid lessons, however, her decision to go to a studio in her uniform may indicate that nursing represented paid employment for her. The census shows that her sister had to earn her living as she is listed as an ‘Art Teacher and Governess.’
Posted in Irish in World War I | Tagged Irish in World War I, Irish Studio Photography, Lloyd Photographer Dublin, Nurses Uniforms 1910s, Nursing in World War I, Studio Portraits, Vernacular Photography, World War I | 2 Comments »
This glamorous lady was photographed as she walked by the railings of Trinity College in 1948. Her outfit adheres to the styles of the day: a black Mandarin hat complete with spotted veil; trapeze swing coat; clutch bag; gloves and a large leaf-shaped brooch. All were the height of fashion for 1948!
The handwriting on the print adds to rather than detracts from the photograph and although it is not a perfectly composed image it gives a real sense of Dublin in 1948 and shows how clothes were worn and fashions adopted on the street.
To get an idea of what else was happening in the city and a flavour of the times, I searched the newspapers for today’s date in 1948. The headlines were full of the Marshall Plan, the Berlin Conference and the ‘Palestine Problem’. According to Seán Ó Faoláin ‘Raidió Éireann was starved of finances’ and another article covered ‘Suggestions to improve Dublin Traffic.’
The Grafton Cinema was showing Spencer Tracey and Mickey Rooney in Boys’ Town and the Carlton Cinema advertised the following: ‘Gorgeous and Gay! Exotic and Exciting! Lovely glamorous Yvonne de Carlo with George Brent, Brod Crawford, Andy Devine and Arthur Treacher in Slave Girl – dazzling Technicolor! Come to the 3.30 show – house booked out for tonight!’ If you didn’t want to go to the cinema there was always ‘Midget Car Racing’ at Santry Speedway or horseracing at Baldoyle.
Miss Louise Brough won the Ladies’ Singles Championship at Wimbledon and there were advertisements for rubber boots, sandals, pilgrimages to Lough Derg, Andrews Liver Salts, Elastic Stockings and Flak DDT offered to ‘Knock down that louse.’
Speaking of street style, the Where were you? team are putting on an exhibition of images from their Dublin youth culture book. It is part of the amazing Photo Ireland Festival 2012 and is at the Lighthouse Cinema, Smithfield from Saturday 7th July.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged 1940s Dublin, 1940s Fashion, 1948 Fashion, Found Photographs, Irish Snapshots, Street Photography, Swing coats, Vernacular Photography | Leave a Comment »
I reckon that this cabinet card features the waterfall at the Powerscourt Estate in County Wicklow and that it was taken sometime in the late 1880s or early 1890s. The group are wearing pretty formal attire and I particularly like the heavily boned outfit worn by the women in the middle of the frame. Her companion wears a slightly less restrictive and modern skirt and blouse combo. The man to the fore of the image rests a pith helmet on his knee – perhaps a bit of overkill for an Irish summer!
The label on the back of the card states that copies can be obtained for 1 shilling. The 1883 Post Office Directory lists John Eagar of ‘Rosemount’, Dargle Road, Bray, County Wicklow, as a superintendent for Prudential Life Assurance, however, by 1889, John has become a photographer. The business was a short-lived one and he disappears from this address by 1903. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find out anything more about Mr. Eagar. His work is not listed in Eddie Chandler’s Photography in Ireland: the Nineteenth Century and this is the only example of his work which I know of.
Posted in Irish Tourism | Tagged Bray, Cabinet cards, Irish Photography, Irish Tourism, John Eagar Photographer, Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt Waterfall, Tourism and Photography, Vernacular Photography, Wicklow | 3 Comments »
I wrote about the daytime version of this Dublin scene in an earlier post on the pre-1907 phenomenon of writing messages on the front of postcards. The same photograph was altered by the publishers for use in the ‘Valentine Moonlight Series.’ The addition of a full moon; a reduction in the traffic and the depopulated street transform the original scene into a quieter nocturnal world.
Valentine and Sons were one of the main producers of postcards at the turn of the nineteenth century and I wrote an entry on their extensive business for John Hannavy’s Encyclopedia of Nineteenth Century Photography.
The message on the 1904 postcard is a fascinating snippet of life. Apparently the person sending the postcard has been inconvenienced by the death of an uncle and may not now be able to go on a proposed outing with Miss Brenton!
‘Dear A, Uncle died on Tuesday afternoon. I am not quite sure if the folks here will think I ought to got to the fair, but will come if I can.’
Posted in Irish Postcards | Tagged Dublin, Dublin Postcards, Four Courts, Irish Postcards, Postcards, Valentine Moonlight Series | 1 Comment »
These photographs are from one of my recent acquisitions: an album of photographs, mostly snapshots, taken by a County Cavan family between 1900 and 1920. William Coyne is wearing strangely formal attire for a photograph taken in the backyard of a Dublin house: the full dress suit is matched by a stiff white collar and top hat. Sarah’s upswept hair and lace blouse/skirt combination were typical of the early twentieth century.
I haven’t been able to definitively locate the Coynes on either the 1901 or 1911 census. He might have been the statistician William P. who in the 1901 census lived on St. Stephen’s Street or the Chief Inspector of Great Northern Railways who resided in Phibsborough?
Despite the serious demeanour of the humans in these photographs the images make me laugh. The cat’s arched back is caught perfectly by the camera and the dog’s quizzical expression, as he stares up into this owner’s face, add a comical twist to an otherwise grim atmosphere.
Posted in Photographs of pets 1900s | Tagged 1900s Dublin, 1910s Dublin, Cats, Cats and photography, Coyne family, Dogs, Dogs and Photography, Irish Photography, Men's fashions in Ireland 1900s, Vernacular Photography, Vintage photographs of pets, Women's fashion in Ireland 1900s | 3 Comments »
This post is about photography but it doesn’t include any photographs! The graphics used by Victorian photographers on the backs of their cartes-de-visite were often as interesting as their photographs.
The earliest were backed by copperplate signatures or simple coloured logos. In later decades, Victorian ornamentation intertwined elaborate fonts around stylised flowers and patterns. Art Nouveau influences are to be found in the early 20th century before a return to plainer modernist styles in the 1920s and 30s. The backs I have featured here are all from Irish studios of the 1860s and 70s.
During this period printers often used different coloured inks for photographers’ logos and the ones featured here include an attractive aquamarine, chocolate brown and indigo.
Several of the logos include line drawings of the large box cameras which were used in studios during this period. In addition to the expected camera motif various signs and symbols recur such as the sun and artists’ easels and palettes. Palettes are visible on three of the Irish cards emphasising the artistic nature of photographers.
In attempt to give their studios prestige and pedigree two of the above studios have adopted mottoes. Adolphe of Grafton Street uses ‘Nunquam non paratus’ meaning ‘never unprepared.’ and Thomas North, also of Grafton Street used ’animo et fide’ which means ‘courageously and faithfully’. One wonders how much courage was required to run a photographic studio during the period?
Other heraldic devices include the belt and buckle which encircles the box camera on the carte by Adolphe and the griffin like creature which appears on the example from A.D. Roche in Cork.
Early designs were probably commissioned from local printers using designs copied from other cards. As the industry grew and progressed specialised firms, based mainly in France and Germany, mass-produced cards which could be customised to include the local studio details. An example by one such company, Marion, was used by Hugh Kerr from Northern Ireland. Roger Vaughan has written a very detailed guide to dating the cards produced by this company which is available here and shows that the card above was from the company’s earlier period of the 1860s or 70s.
Posted in 1870s Ireland | Tagged 1860s Dublin, 1860s Ireland, 1870s Ireland, Carte-de-visite format, Found Photographs, History of Photography, Street Photography Dublin, Studio Portraits, Vernacular Photography, Victorian Design, Victorian graphics | 5 Comments »