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Posts Tagged ‘Irish costume history’

On this beautiful sunny day, I thought that I would post two seaside related snapshots. This group of happy ladies were snapped in the early 1920s somewhere along the Eastern Irish coastline. I love their cloche swimming hats and the little child reaching precariously into the sea in above picture.

I have recently started to follow a blog devoted entirely to beach photographs: Swimming in pictures is based on Ian Phillips’ collection of vintage photographs of people in bathing costumes. It is interesting to note how similar, in both style and composition, beach snapshots were throughout the world.

 

The outfits worn by the ladies splashing about in the Irish sea are remarkably like those in a previous post of mine from another Irish 1920s album. Brighton Royal Pavilion and Museums have a short little piece on bathing costumes from this period. Advertisements  from Selfridge’s and Sparkenhoe show the ideal beachwear styles of the 1920s and prove that the Irish swimmers were very much en trend.

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Stuffed dogs were often as used as studio props in the 19th century although I am pretty sure that the animals featured in this post were alive when photographed.

There is something comical and slightly absurd about this image of a serious legal clerk called T.M. Barcroft and his dog! It was included in a photograph album compiled by the Foley family of Clontarf in the 1910s and 20s.

This early Dublin carte-de-visite features a nondescript looking dog whose owners obviously thought he was worthy of photographing. The card contains no additional information except for the photographer’s name and address, F.H. Mares, who worked from Grafton Street in the early 1860s and 70s.

This fashionable young lady was photographed along with her dog by the Leinster Photo Company of 39A Talbot Street, Dublin. I love the white feather boa! The photograph was posted from Tamworth, England to a friend in New Jersey in May 1910.

The photograph above includes both a baby and a dog and was taken at John J. Thompson in Omagh, County Tyrone. I wonder if the dog was jealous of the new arrival? Amazingly, the photographer has succeeded in getting all three to look at the camera. Note that the sitter’s feet are hidden behind a patterned cushion which blends in with the studio’s floor covering.

If you’d like to see more canine images, The Kennel Club’s exhibition of vintage dog photographs is showing in London until the 13th of January 2012 and you can see some of them here.

I also recommend the following titles which show that the family pet was a favourite subject for photographers throughout the years: The dog observed: photography 1844-1983 by Ruth Silverman begins with anonymous American daguerreotypes of the 1850s before moving on to the work of big name photographers like André Kertész and Lisette Model whilst Catherine Johnson and William Wegman’s Dogs is a beautiful book of found photographs which were published by Phaidon in 2007.

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I am giving a talk in August on the subject of Irish fashion during World War Two and in preparation I had a look at some of my photos from the 1940s. As these two Dublin wedding portraits demonstrate, the slouch hat was a ‘must-have’ for any fashionable women. Tilted or asymmetric hats of all styles were very popular including the topper .  

 

The July 1944 advertisement boasts that the high-end Dublin department store Slyne’s was selling slouch hats in a variety of colours. 

 

Neither bride wears white and both of them have sensible shoes and outfits which could be worn again for everyday use. 

Interestingly, both grooms are wearing double-breasted pin-striped suits with large lapels. The trousers are wide-legged with turn-ups. 

What I like about both these studio portraits is that they show how regular Dubliners embraced fashion trends and that despite the formal studio setting and poses, the sitters’ personalities still manage to shine through. 

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