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Posts Tagged ‘McCrae Photographer’

wedding-500

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.

WeddingHats-1

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!

WeddingHats-Bride-500

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.

WeddingHats-Sister-500

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 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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