Monday, May 23, 2016

The Duke Of Buccleugh's Selfie Stick


This is a carte de visite from the Barrow-in-Furness studios of the Victorian photographer James Hargreaves. I have no idea who the subject is, but she has an intriguing face - the kind of face that approaches intimacy, but then stops short. I rather fancy that she was a schoolmistress: surely she was more than just than the kind of supernumerary Victorian house-wife who organised the servants and kept the keys of the polished wooden tantalus. Beautiful as her portrait is, it pales into insignificance compared to the reverse of the pasteboard card which is an advertisement for the "artist and photographer", J Hargreaves, who was "photographer to his grace the Duke of Buccleugh and Queensbery KG". With its palettes and brushes, glass photographic plates and cameras the size of a tea trunk, this scene speaks eloquently of a time when the smartphone and selfie-stick were the stuff of a photographers nightmare.


6 comments:

  1. I miss the elegance of those old ads.

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  2. Few portrait artists today would also promote their photography skill. And even fewer would promote a link to a Dukedom. Mr. Hargreaves took an excellent photo that should have pleased your lady. But I think her elegant broach, floral embroidery, and puffed blouse places her several classes above a schoolmistress.

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  3. Some info and some questions on this post card.

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  4. Well, she looks as though she's wearing silk with lace on, and the collar looks like velvet so I guess this would be her very best frock. And her hair is carefully frizzed so she made sure she looked her very best for the visit to Mr Hargreaves. But her brooch is small and plain and her earrings are also small so I think she was not so well off as she might be.
    What I would like to know is what was the Duke of Buccleugh doing in Barrow in Furness? It seems very unlikely.

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  5. She is beautiful with a sensual mouth.

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  6. She has a beautiful face and her clothes are lovely. That hairstyle, so common at the time, does very little for anyone I think. But no doubt it looked really trendy back in the day. The back is extraordinarily fancy, isnt it, suggests it might have been an expensive photographer too.

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