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Posts Tagged ‘Dublin Photographers’

Werner-Dublin-500

Wynne-Castlebar-500

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 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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In the course of researching this post, I discovered that Dundrearies are long, full sideburns like those worn by the man in this photograph. They became popular in the 1860s and are named after the actor Edward A. Sothern who played the role of Lord Dundreary in Our American Cousin. Piccadilly weepers were another pretty similar style of mutton-chop sideburns. Both are great descriptive terms which have fallen out of use.

This portrait was taken by Frederick H. Mares, probably in the late 1860s or early 1870s, at his studio at 79 Grafton Street, Dublin. He moved from this location in 1875 to another building called The Grafton Studio, at 118 Grafton Street (opposite Trinity College).

The smiling child and the interaction between the sitters are not usual for studio portraits of the era. There is quite a lot going on in background too. Given the small size of the original image (2⅛ × 3½ inches) the tinting is actually quite well executed. The artist who painted the backdrop has cleverly left a break in the scenery into which the sitter could be positioned.

The patterned flooring is the same as that shown on a series of portraits from the studio held by the Minnesota Historical Society which date from the early 1870s.

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