So I somehow survived Shopping Week : came out the other side like someone being ejected out of one of those circulating doors you find in the entrances to Department Stores. It has not been all Marks and Spencer's and Debenhams : early on in the week I got the chance to visit one of my favourite Antique Centres where I was able to stock-up on sepias. Let me share a couple of them with you today.
The first is a Victorian CdV showing an unknown Victorian lady and what appears to be half a forest. Victorian photographers were great lovers of studio props and here Edgar Gregson seems to have imported a substantial amount of timber into his Halifax studio, not to mention what looks suspiciously like a sarcophagus in the background. The Lady herself looks like a substantial player on the local Victorian scene : one could half imagine that she might have pulled those branches off the tree herself.
I bought the photograph for a few pence, not because of the imposing subject, but because of the photographer. Although I was born in Bradford, I always think of Halifax as my home town and I had not come across the work of Gregson before. What is surprising is that he had studios in both Halifax and Blackpool : hardly adjacent towns. I have been able to find very little about E Gregson on the internet. The best I have come up with is a 1891 record of an Edgar J Gregson who is listed as a photographers' artist and is living at 201 Gibbet Street in Halifax. In 1891 he is listed as being 23 years of age and unmarried, which means that this portrait of his must be a few years later than this, as by then he comes with son. Having found my first Gregson, I have become a collector of his work and look forward to finding other photographs by him and other branches of his timber props.
From a neighboring stall in the Antiques Centre I bought a richly illustrated book entitled "These Tremendous Years 1919-1938" The thing that immediately struck me about the book, which was published in 1938, was that the photographs that make up the majority of the content are all in sepia. There is something fascinating about reading contemporary history 70 years after it was written, before time has a chance to compress events into what later generations see as their relevant historical perspectives.
My image is chosen at random. It shows the British golfer Diana Fishwick who in 1930 won the British woman's open golf championship. The caption says : "Diana Fishwick, the 19 year old Broadstairs girl who had never played in a golf championship event before. She defeated Glanna Collett, American champion, and so gained the British women's open golf championships".
Again, there is a limited amount of information available about Diana Fishwick. She continued playing golf throughout the 1930s and became the third wife of Brigadier-General Alfred Cecil Critchley, who was a renowned amateur golf champion himself as well as being a highly decorated war hero and the person responsible for introducing greyhound racing to Britain.
So there we have them, two random images, united only by the fact that they are both sepia and they both feature women who have held a wood in their hands. And also united by the fact that they constitute my own little souvenir of Shopping Week.
Take a look at what everyone else has come up with for their Sepia Saturday contributions this week by following the links on the Sepia Saturday Blog.