Saturday, February 04, 2012

Sepia Saturday : Enoch And The Pin-Sharp Ratter


Dogs are the theme over on Sepia Saturday this week and the theme took me straight to this photograph of my grandfather, Enoch Burnett, and his dog. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind something is telling me that the dog was called Betty, but I can't be entirely sure of that.

I can be more certain about the date the photograph was taken because a date stamp has been applied to the reverse of the print : 18 November 1928. This was standard procedure at Jerome Studios which had "branches everywhere" in the UK. Enoch would have been 50 at the time the picture was taken and one can only wonder what caused him to take his dog along to the Jerome's branch in Bradford and have the portrait taken. He was not a great lover of studio portraits and I can find few of him other than this one and the one taken during the Great War which features all of the family. The strange thing is that he looks younger in this photograph than the one which was taken ten or eleven years earlier. Perhaps the dog had won prizes - she has the look of a great litter ratter - or perhaps there was a bond of affection there which drove the pair of them to have their likeness's captured in sepia forever. It is quite a nice idea - perhaps I will try and recreate the photograph using my own canine pal, Amy. All I need to know is how the photographers at Jerome's managed to keep her so still and looking into the camera. I will carry out experiments over the coming days and report back.


For more old photographs of long gone people and long gone dogs go the the Sepia Saturday Blog and follow the links.

31 comments:

  1. Great photo. I love including the dog in the formal studio portrait!
    Colleen
    http://www.pasqualefamily.net/web/

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  2. That dog looks SO smug! I guess he must have caught lots of rats that day... LOL

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  3. You may be right about the prizes - the dog really does look like she's happy about something. Maybe the photographer was holding a tasty treat.

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  4. These days the dog could be reacting to the studio lights, Perhaps someone said 'Cats!'

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  5. Is it possible the dog was taxidermied? It was very popular at one time.

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  6. I love his hat - you'd never see one like that today

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  7. Grandad seem to bear more than a passing resemblance to a certain Alan Burnett.

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  8. Maybe the stress of the war made him look older.

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  9. I agree, it must have been difficult to have the dog sit still for such a long time, this was not the era of point and shoot as it is nowadays. Nice looking man.

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  10. What a resemblance to your grandfather!

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  11. What a wonderful photo. Maybe your granddad was like a lot of people - his dog was part of his family.

    Dee at Shakin' the Family Tree

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  12. Well, you can call her Betty and Betty when she calls you, she can call you Al! Sorry Alan that immediately popped into my head. Perhaps it was the other line from Paul Simon’s song - “I need a photo-opportunity”

    Or........

    "Bonedigger, Bonedigger,
    Dogs in the moonlight.
    Far away, my well-lit door.
    Mr. Beerbelly, Beerbelly,
    Get these mutts away from me!
    You know, I don't find this stuff amusing anymore”

    Ever since watching Paul Simon on BBC 4 last week that songs been an ‘earworm’!

    I think the photo is wonderful of course, and Jerome didn’t need any fancy tricks because Betty was obviously beautifully behaved.

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  13. Nell : I saw it on BBC4 too, a great programme. As for "Mr Beerbelly" - we've obviously met.

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  14. I think your grandfather looks happier and more relaxed than he would without the dog. I bet the dog enjoyed the experience too.

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  15. Very nice studio portrait. I look forward to Part II when you reveal a portrait of you and Amy.

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  16. They look as though they are both having a good time, it is a great photo to have. Wish more of the old photographers had stamped dates on the back.

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  17. Nice picture dear, I have someones of these of my grandfather from England but not with a dog (lol) but with a hat (lol)

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  18. That dog looks compact, efficient and very smart., but now Kat's comment got me thinking about Paul Simon and humming these tunes.

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  19. Oh, I meant Little Nell's comment...

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  20. I think they look amazingly alike and I like the looks of both of them. Isn't it funny how often people look like their dogs?
    Barbara

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  21. Great picture, Alan. One man and his dog. You know, there are still one or two chaps, hereabouts, who provide a 'ratting' service as a little sideline.

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  22. Well, something has definitely got "Betty's" attention. I think Bob's notion is a good one, although the word, "Cats!" might have caused Betty to leap from her spot on the dais. I notice Enoch has his arm around her. Would that work with Amy? I am most anxious to see the result of your efforts, Alan.

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  23. Great photo! Betty looks so proud to be there. I wonder if she is thinking, ha, he brought me to the studio by left the others at home.

    Can't wait to see your what you get accomplished with Amy.

    Have a great week,

    Kathy M.

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  24. If your grandfather didn't like having his picture taken, maybe this one was the price he paid to get a good photo of a beloved pet. I look forward to seeing the results of your efforts to duplicate this photo with your Amy.

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  25. What an amazing photograph of your grandfather and his dog. The dog must have been well loved to have been included in a formal photo.

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  26. What a great photo! I'd love to have one like that.

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  27. It's not a portrait of a man with a dog. It's a portrait of two mates - a dog and his best friend!

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  28. I think Enoch was so fond of his dog that he wanted a portrait of the two of them together :-)

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  29. It looks like he loved that dog..yes you must take a photo of you and Amy..I can't wait to see it:)

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  30. A touching picture, for sure!!
    :)~
    HUGZ

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  31. Betty has the look of several Movie Queens of The Era!:)

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