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Posts Tagged ‘1900s Dublin’

James Joyce was an astute observer of both male and female fashions. Within Ulysses he repeatedly mentions the uncomfortable nature of the stiff collars worn by men and also notes how various styles of necktie signified class and status. I’ve gathered together some contemporaneous Irish images from Dublin, Belfast and Kilkenny photographic studios illustrating the type of attire that Joyce was referring to.

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“Always know a fellow courting: collars and cuffs. Well cocks and lions do the same and stags. Same time might prefer a tie undone or something.” Nausicaa

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“Bloom stood behind the boy with the wreath looking down at his sleek combed hair and at the slender furrowed neck inside his brand new collar.” Hades

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“What caused him irritation in his sitting posture? Inhibitory pressure of collar (size 17) and waistcoat (5 buttons), two articles of clothing superfluous in the costume of mature males and inelastic to alterations of mass by expansion. How was the irritation allayed? He removed his collar, with contained black necktie and collapsible stud, from his neck to a position on the left of the table.” Ithaca

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“He rustled the pleated pages, jerking his chin on his high collar. Barber’s itch. Tight collar he’ll lose his hair. Better leave him the paper and get shut of him.” Lotus-Eaters

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“Master Dignam walked along Nassau street, shifted the pork steaks to his other hand. His collar sprang up again and he tugged it down. The blooming stud was too small for the buttonhole of the shirt, blooming end to it.” Wandering Rocks

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“Dull eye: collar tight on his neck, pressing on a blood vessel or something.” Hades

 

 

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This is the fourth year that I’ve written about the photographic references within Joyce’s Ulysses. Episode 14, Oxen in the Sun, relates to pregnancy and birth and includes a reference to ‘artistic coloured photographs of prize babies’ whose circulation to pregnant women was recommended. The carte-de-viste below dates to 1880 and is a composite image of thirty-seven smiling babies hovering over the phrase ‘Good Morning.’ Joyce refers to a coloured photograph and curiously page 45 of James Birch’s Babylon: Surreal Babies (Dewi Lewis, 2010) includes the same image reproduced in a pastel tinted postcard printed in Germany and sent from France ca. 1900.

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In Episode 17, Ithaca, Bloom’s mental inventory  of the contents of a cabinet at his home 7 Eccles Street includes ‘fading photographs of Queen Alexandra of England and of Maud Branscombe, actress and professional beauty.’ I’ve featured Maud on a previous Bloomsday post here, however, the photo below shows the Queen whilst she was Princess of Wales and which was taken in 1863 not long after her marriage to Edward the VII. It is hand-tinted and in the carte-de-visite process. Images of Alexandra sold very well throughout her life and she visited Ireland on several occasions.

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Other Ulysses related posts include ‘Milly Bloom and Photography’ and ‘Grandpapa Giltrap’s lovely-dog‘.

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This photograph shows the Governor’s House at Arbour Hill Prison, Dublin. It is described by Christine Casey as ‘a three bay-block with a central axial corridor, transverse stair and simple plaster ornament,’ and was built between 1845-1848.

It was designed by Richard Cleverton Cuming, Assistant Surveyor, Royal Engineers, Ordnance Civil Branch, Dublin Castle. A watercolour of the house by Herbert Crompton Herries ca. 1870, showing the gardens and the Wellington Monument in the distance, was recently auctioned in Dublin.

This photograph shows the governor, his family and their uniformed staff standing outside the ivy-covered building. I reckon that the photograph was taken between 1890 and 1910. One of the governors during this period was George Alfred Penrhys Evans who is listed in the 1901 census. The household included the governor, his wife Cecelia Cameka Evans, their one-year-old daughter Audrey Fortesine and four female servants.

The firm of Guthrie took this photograph and their studio was located at nearby Parkgate Street. The Guthrie brothers were born in China and South Africa, however, their mother hailed from County Fermanagh. They describe themselves on the 1911 census as ‘Photographic Artists’ and I have written about their work in a previous post which you can read here.

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The above photograph was sold along with the image of Governor’s House. Though I can’t be sure that it is the interior of the Arbour Hill house, its atmospheric clutter, decorated with a large number of prints and photographic portraits, is similar to a bedroom of the period.

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I have posted photographs of dogs and their owners taken in Irish studios before and thought that this pair were a nice addition to the series. They were taken by two very different studios: the Wynne business was based in the small town of Castlebar, County Mayo whilst the Werner family had several fashionable locations in Dublin’s city centre.

Louis Werner (1825-1901) came to Ireland from Alsace in the mid-nineteenth century and was originally engaged as a portrait painter. He had switched to photography by the 1860s and I’ve featured several examples of his work elsewhere on the blog. The business was eventually taken over by his his son, Alfred who also exhibited his pictoralist photography internationally at the Chicago World Fair in 1893; the 3rd Exposition d’art photographique, 1896, Paris and the American Institute Photographic Salon, New York, 1899. He favoured the platinotype or platinum print which gives a great tonal range. I love this portrait of two Dublin sisters and their small terrier dog. The girls’ flowing hair is shown beautifully and I reckon, their matching outfits date the photograph to the 1900s.

The earlier carte-de-visite by Wynne’s is great fun. The dog and owner are sporting a similar shaggy hairstyle and the photograph is full of great detail from the woman’s beautiful lace collar worn with a crucifix necklace to the velvet embroidered tablecloth. The National Photographic Archive have an amazing photograph of Thomas J. Wynne advertising his business ca.1880 in which you can zoom in on the details of the products he was selling. By 1901, the family also had branches of their photographic business in Tipperary Town and Loughrea, County Galway, the latter being run by 34 year-old Delia Wynne.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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. 

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Dublin City Libraries have chosen James Joyce’s Dubliners to be the featured title in their initiative One City, One Book. I’ve mentioned the book before in earlier posts, however, the project brought to mind several images from my collection which remind me of Joyce’s references to photography within the short stories. I love Joyce’s descriptions of interiors, particularly in The Dead and the following photographs feature similar subjects and conjure up the same atmosphere as occurs in the stories.

From The Dead:  “Her photograph stood before the pierglass. She held an open book on her knees and was pointing out something in it to Constantine who, dressed in a man-o-war suit, lay at her feet.”

The man-o-war suit mentioned in the story was a version of the then popular sailor suits worn by little boys during the mid to late nineteenth-century. The trousers in this variety were long legged and were often worn with a wide-brimmed straw hat like the example below from the Werner studio of Grafton Street. Joyce himself was photographed as a young boy wearing a sailor suit.

From A Little Cloud: “It was Annie’s photograph. Little Chandler looked at it, pausing at the thin tight lips. She wore the pale blue summer blouse which he had brought her home as a present one Saturday … He looked coldly into the eyes of the photograph and they answered coldly. Certainly they were pretty and the face itself was pretty. But he found something mean in it. Why was it so unconscious and ladylike? The composure of the eyes irritated him. They repelled him and defied him: there was no passion in them, no rapture.”

I think the expression of the woman above matches that described by Joyce in the story ‘The Little Cloud’. Blouse and skirt combinations were very popular during the 1890s and 1900s – the period during which Joyce wrote Dubliners and when the story is set.
From Eveline: “And yet during all those years she had never found out the name of the priest whose yellowing photograph hung on the wall above the broken harmonium beside the coloured print of the promises made to Blessed Mary May Alacoque. He had been a school friend of her father. Whenever he showed the photograph to a visitor her father used to pass it with a casual word:
‘He is in Melbourne now.’ ”

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The chill in the air reminded me of this beautiful carte-de-visite showing a Dublin girl in her lavish winter outfit. The expression on her wise little face, peaking out from the large bonnet, makes me think that she might have been a tad precocious and spoilt!

The matching coat, muff and gaiters are made from a material which looks like the fake or fun furs which were popular during my childhood in the 1970s. In my attempt to identify the fabric, I received several suggestions as to what this material might be including an Astrakhan fur, a reversed shearling or a bouclè wool. In general, I find Noreen Marshall’s Dictionary of Children’s Clothes 1700s to Present to be very useful and the excellent photographs in this V&A publication make it a vital resource for the historian of children’s costume.

Lauder Brothers worked from 32 Westmoreland Street from the 1850s to 1900 although I think that this image dates from the later decades of their tenure at this premises. Edward Chandler included several of their card backs in his invaluable book Photography in Ireland: the Nineteenth Century and the example above matches those from the 1890s. I located a similar, although possibly later image, from a Romanian studio on an interesting blog called The Cabinet Card Gallery.

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Henry Dunbar based his business in a premises on O’Connell Street which had a long association with the photographic trade. Between 1859 and 1890, number 39 was the building from which Thomas Millard ran his photographic studio. Firstly in partnership as Simonton & Millard; then for a short period in the 1860s trading solely as Thomas Millard and finally working with J.V. Robinson between 1864 and 1889.

Mr Dunbar’s business was not as long-lasting. He appears at this address for the first time in 1889 and died on the 13th December 1905 at the age of 54. The winding-up of his affairs was conducted by his son, Arthur Dunbar, who was a resident of Regent’s Square, York.

I know little more about Dunbar, except that his early adoption of the name O’Connell Street rather than Sackville Street is an indicator of nationalist leanings. In late 1884, the largely nationalist Dublin Corporation had voted to re-name the city’s main thoroughfare in honour of Daniel O’Connell, the champion of Catholic Emancipation. This was not to the liking of the majority of the street’s traders who got a court order preventing the name change. Dunbar was, of course, making a political point by his use of the street’s new name!

The verso of the cabinet card is nicely executed and alludes to the artistic nature of photography. The ‘photographer as artist’ is displayed alongside some typical studio props. This generic design was probably purchased from France or Germany which is where most photographers sourced their card backs.

The photograph itself provides a fascinating glimpse into the world of work during the period. Certain details are typical of Victorian or Edwardian tradesman, for example, the apron and white shirt sleeves. Most wear hats and have impressive moustaches. I love the individual who is posed in the act of ‘hammering’ a basket! Baskets were used to house and transport a wide variety of goods and as late as 1924, Dublin street directories listed nine basket-makers in the centre of the city.

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These two groups of sisters are beautifully presented with matching dresses and hairstyles. The girls above were photographed by Robert Lyttle of  Belfast, and have fabulous banana curls tied with large ribbons. Their light coloured linen or cotton dresses are worn with dark tights and lace-up boots or shoes. I particularly like the detailed smocking and the series of pin tucks at the bottom of their skirts. Interestingly, they all wore necklaces and bracelets.

The second group were photographed at William McCrae’s Studio, Berkeley Road, Phibsborough, Dublin. They too wear matching white outfits with the dark tights and shoes so typical of the era. Their dresses have nautical details which are similar to a 1905 girl’s sailor suit held in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. 

Unfortunately, I have no idea who the girls in either photographs were, however, based on the skirt lengths and the studio addresses it is probable that the photographs were taken in the first decade of the twentieth century.

Census records show that in 1911, Belfast-born Robert Lyttle was living at 23 Kingsmere Avenue with his wife Eleanor and three children (Gwen, Norman and Cecil). He doesn’t feature as a photographer in the 1901 census. Curiously, the verso of the photograph lists him as the Official Photographer of the Football Association of Ireland!

William McCrae was of Scottish origin and in 1911 lived over his Berkeley Street studio with his six surviving children. By this time, his Irish-born wife, Rebecca, had died. Since their marriage in 1887, she had given birth to at least nine children! The family are listed as members of the United Free Church of Scotland, a Presbyterian group who were in existence from 1900.

By 1916, McCrae had also opened a studio at the fashionable location of Grafton Street. The business was continued by his sons, one of whom may have been the photographer commissioned to record the aftermath of the North Strand bombings in 1941. 

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