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Posts Tagged ‘Cabinet cards’

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. 


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This little girl was the height of fashion for the 1900s. All the mainstays from the decade are here: a sailor style tunic; soft leather ankle strap shoes; dark tights and a large floppy wide-brimmed hat. I particularly like the pleated skirt and the black cuffs and collar. The ostrich plume adds a finishing touch to her hat.

The use of the name ‘Berlin’ was not unusual. Many photographers alluded to being either French or German in attempt to give their studio some continental European cachet.  Thirty years earlier, a firm called Stevens ran a photographic studio from the same location in Patrick Street (see previous post on a carte-de-visite from the 1860s).  The larger cabinet card format which is used here allowed for more detail and a better view of the sitter’s features and expression. The wrought iron railings in the background; terrazzo flooring and fake ‘boulder’ make a very strong composition.

On a related topic, I’ll be talking about some of the fashion highlights of the Jacolette collection at the Gallery of Photography, Meeting House Square, this Wednesday, 11th April at 7 o’clock. Also on at the gallery is an exhibition of fashion photography organised in conjunction with the excellent Thread magazine.

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I was hoping to post this cabinet card for International Women’s Day but didn’t get the scan ready on time. This proud graduate marked her conferral by commissioning a portrait from Kilpatrick photographers of 8 Donegall Place, Belfast. Street directories show that the business was based there in the 1880s and the tight fitting bodice and high neckline of her outfit are in keeping with the fashions of that period.  

The lace detailing looks like either ribbon or Guipure lace and her slim silhouette was most likely created by corseting. Other nice details include the almond-shaped brooch, possible made of bog oak, which was worn high on her neckline. The hood of her academic gown was lined with either ermine or rabbit fur and you can also see a cane and the academic scroll in the image.

The cabinet card format (16.5 cm x 11.4cm) was larger than the carte-de-visite (10.5 cm  x 6.3 cm) and peaked in popularity in the 1880s. There are some fine examples on the excellent blog The Cabinet Card Gallery.

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This cabinet card shows a charming group photograph of the five Walshe children from Battlemount, Narragmore, Ballytore, County Kildare. The Lafayette studio’s rustic setting includes wooden steps and tufts of artificial grass and is completed by props such as a fishing net, basket, book and what has to be a stuffed dog!

The children are beautifully dressed as befits the family of a comfortable farmer from this prosperous county. The two girls to the front of the photograph wear velvet ruched dresses with beautiful smocking and buttons. The also wear fashionable lace-up boots. Both of the boys are dressed in matching suits with wide stripes and white collars. The elder girl wears a nautical dress and short hair which is perhaps an indication of a recent illness.

The village of Ballytore or Ballitore was the only planned Quaker village in Ireland and home to the ancestors of the explorer Ernest Shackleton. The census returns for 1901 and 1911 state that there were five children in the Walshe family and that their mother, Bridget, who was married in 1873 was widowed by 1901. It is likely that this photograph was taken in the mid-1880s when the youngest child, Michael (b.1881) was about five year’s old. 

 

 

 

The above photograph of the family home, Battlemount House was taken many years later and shows the now grown children with their mother. As in the earlier photograph, two of the daughters appear to be wearing identical outfits. Perhaps they were twins? I discovered that one of the daughters, Bridget, was to emigrate to South Africa, and this image might mark one of the last times that the family were to be together.

A newspaper report from August1922 shows that Michael was seeking compensation of £235, from the government, for the loss of his Ford car during the Civil War – an indicator that the family continued to be quite well-off!

 

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When I bought this cabinet card a few weeks ago I was happy to believe the online seller’s description which stated that the image originated from Queenstown (now Cobh), County Cork. I imagined this dapper pair stepping off an ocean liner to have their photograph taken whilst en route to an adventure in some exotic location.

I set about researching the studio using the trade and street directories for Cork city and county which are available through the public library service’s website but could find no trace of a Healey studio in Queenstown. Upon closer inspection I came to the realisation that there is actually nothing on the card (front or back) to indicate that it was taken in Cork!

Further research revealed that a photographer of this name worked in Sussex, England, for a period in the 1880s before heading off to South Africa in 1892. Perhaps Queenstown, South Africa is where this photograph was taken?

I suppose the moral of the story is that online sellers may not always undertake thorough searches but I was more than willing to believe it was an Irish picture. I didn’t pay very much for the photograph and it is still an excellent image which poses many questions. Why were they dressed alike? Who were they? Look at those great moustaches!

A website on the subject of Sussex postcards does mention that Healey moved around a lot and that there is no known address for him between 1911 and 1919 so he might have been in Cork after all!

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