Saturday, December 06, 2014

Sepia Saturday 257 : Seurat Hop Pickers Of The Wild South



The nearest match I could come up with for our theme image this week, is this early twentieth century postcard entitled "Romany Hop Pickers". It has steps, a parent and a child and no doubt there is a dog around somewhere. No cowboys with lasso's, but this is the wild south and not the wild west. Hop picking was a seasonal occupation and it was also very labour intensive. In Britain, hop growing takes place primarily in the county of Kent, just south of London. The hop farmers would make use of large numbers of temporary workers during the picking season, which coincided with the summer months. Such workers would include travelling Romany families and also families from the East End of London for whom a week's hop-picking was their annual holiday.


Such old, hand-coloured postcards as this one inhabit a strange hinterland, somewhere between photography and art. Take, for example, the family on the left of the postcard, Seurat-like, they wouldn't look out of place on the Island of La Grande Jatte.

To see what others are up to on Sepia Saturday this week, go to the Sepia Saturday Blog and follow the links.

19 comments:

  1. What a great old postcard, and a wonderful comparison to the Seurat painting ...

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  2. That's a terrific image!

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  3. HA HA -- the minute I saw the photo, I thought "Seurat" too -- something about the subject and arrangement. The enlarged photo is even more so. Que Seurat Seurat!

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  4. I don't quite know what Seurats are, are they like Gypsies? Love the picture.

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  5. You have most of it - the parents, children, steps . . . the one child even appears to have a wide-brimmed hat on of some kind, and there's bound to be rope around somewhere. As for the dog, it's probably sniffing out interesting things in the bushes! Nice old postcard post.

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  6. Lovely old postcard. I spent a few days in Kent recently and saw all the old oast houses that have now been converted into residences.

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  7. Do you think that's laundry stuck in the hedge?

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  8. The wagon/ home? is so decorative! I love the shape and touches of trim.

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  9. I really like that postcard. I never see such interesting European postcards here.

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  10. I heard a program about picking hops or was it a series of photos linked on Sepia Saturday. Anyway, it sounded like a good time out of the city and earning some money to boot.

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  11. A splendid caravan to have as a home.
    I suppose their connection to beer is just a coincidence?

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  12. You must claim the prize for the most original match with this week's prompt - even minus a dog. A great vintage postcard.

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  13. There’s certainly an arty feel to that postcard, but the subjects of course came from very different backgrounds to those in Seurat’s.

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  14. Claasy old card. We don't hear much about hop picking these days, more about immigrants picking vegetables - especially in Lincolnshire.

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  15. There was a lot to look at in this beatiful postcard. It makes one wonder about the sort of life they must have lived.

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  16. I always wonder how much time it took to hand color the cards. This one would have been difficult with a lot of detail. Before color photography my wife's mother hand tinted senior photos for a Des Moines business. My two brothers had tinted senor photos but mine were just left as black and whites.

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  17. This reminds me of the Maisie Dobbs series of mysteries (Winspear); she writes of hop picking, the annual holiday for some folks; etc. How neat to see a postcard of all that!

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  18. Those textured postcards are really beautiful, works of art. It looks beautiful but I wonder what their life was really like.

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  19. The caravan looks oh so pretty but so very very tiny!

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