Dating victorian photographs

Dating Old Photographs and Victorian Fashion | The List

dating victorian photographs

Before Kodak changed everything, family photographs were reserved The Expert Guide to Dating Victorian Family Photographs by Audrey. Date an old photo decade is this photograph from, see the changes of the designs on the back through time and a brief description of fashion changes. Having learned in the previous blog how photograph compositions and studio eras is an invaluable tool when trying to date unlabelled photographs. .. Victorian and Edwardian Fashion: A Photographic Survey, Alison.

How to date Victorian photographs

With a date, you can narrow the field of possible suspects and even, sometimes put a name to a face as it stares back at you from the past: Understanding the history to cartes de visite CDV and cabinet cards will also help you narrow down a timeframe.

There are plenty of websites that can guide you. Just as with format, sizes for prints changed over time. Again, look online to find guides on sizes of photographic prints. Many CDVs include the name of the photography studio.

dating victorian photographs

Although usually long gone, you may be able to find them listed in directories. There are also websites that collect details of photographers. For the 19th century, sleeves can be quite a good starting point. Again, look online for different sleeve shapes through the ages and try to find ones that match those in the photograph. For the 20th century, dress length can be quite revealing.

Dating Old Photographs

Always judge by the younger women in the photograph if possible. Older women are much more likely to be conservative and still be wearing a favourite dress from ten years ago! This can be difficult as there were whole decades of the 19th century when women had a centre parting but when a new fashion comes in with hairstyle it is quicker for people to update than clothing. By consulting records of when photographers were working see resources information, below this information will often help us date the picture.

In addition, we have the information contained within the image itself, particularly female fashion details.

Identifying and Dating 19th Century Photographs

This means that most photographs can be assigned a date within around five years of their production. Once we have a date, we need to ask why the portrait was taken. What activity or event does this photograph record?

  • Dating Old Photographs and Victorian Fashion
  • Identifying Photograph Types
  • The photo detective

Our ancestors courted the camera to celebrate special occasions and those events which presented the individual in a good light. Career success, for example, was recorded through portraits of people wearing uniform or badges of office.

dating victorian photographs

The special occasions most commonly celebrated in portraits were rites of passage: But it is not always easy for us today to identify the rites behind the picture.

In some cases we have ceased to observe them altogether, as in the case of breeching, or we celebrate them in a very different way, as in the case of weddings.

Audrey Linkman on how to decode old family photographs | Life and style | The Guardian

Finally, anybody who has looked at a series of studio portraits will be struck by their uniformity. Our ancestors did not smile.

They adopted stiff poses. They wore their best clothes and sat on stage sets. Once we can recognise these conventions, we can begin to pinpoint those features of a photograph that are distinctive.

If an unusual prop or accessory appears, for example, it probably belonged to the sitter, and its appearance indicates that it has significance - study it, and it could help identify the sitter.