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Posts Tagged ‘Cork Photographers’

IjRice-Mallow-Front-500

By the late 1850s, according to Priscilla Harris Dalrymple’s Victorian Costume in Early Photographs, it ‘was becoming fashionable to close only the top button of the coat,’ whilst trousers remained creaseless and without turn-ups. These trends were certainly adopted by this young man who had his photograph taken in the little-known studio of I.J. Rice in the town of Mallow, County Cork, ca. 1860. This image may well be the only surviving evidence of Rice’s output. The card’s straight-edges and plain stamp indicate that it is an early example of the carte-de-visite process.

I love the nonchalance of the man’s pose and even though the image has been damaged and marked over the years it is still possible to make out his distinctive attire and striking hairstyle. His lacquered hair is parted on both sides and piled up high in the middle. His watch fob, bow tie and pinky ring have been crudely highlighted with green ink. His bowler or derby hat rests on the ornate studio chair which contrasts with the plain backdrop.

IjRice-Mallow-Back-500

This image and indeed his pose bear an uncanny resemblance to another photograph from my collection. The portrait below originated in an Irish-American album and is an example of the tintype process which was favoured in the United States. Although separated by thousands of miles, both men are dressed in a very similar manner.

jacolette-6-tintype

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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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The little girl on the pedestal was named Elizabeth Angelina Anna Stopford and she was born in Dublin in 1868. Her family subsequently moved to Cork where she was photographed with her crinoline-wearing mother, Lucy Rebecca Stopford (née Binney). Thanks to the online availability of Dublin church records, I was able to track down her baptism details.

The Stopfords were a military family and they resided at Eglantine, Mallow. The inscription on the back of the carte-de-visite shows that the photograph was taken in July 1869 and sent ‘to dear Willie with Lucy’s love.’

Unfortunately, Elizabeth died at the age of 22 in 1890. Other than these scant facts I know little about her life. A pretty extensive trawl through the national newspapers has revealed no death notice nor memorial. This was often the case with unmarried daughters or aunts especially if they had no property to bequeath. Perhaps, her passing was marked in the local newspapers?

The studio of Stevens is little known and doesn’t appear in Eddie Chandler’s Photography in Ireland : the Nineteenth Century. I love the mention of access through Francis Guy’s Stationery Hall. From a  perusal of the city’s street directories it looks like George F. Stevens’ business as a short-lived one, appearing in only one of the volumes made available through Cork City Library’s website: Slater’s National Commercial Directory of Ireland for 1870.

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