Friday, January 05, 2018

Splendour In Spades (Sepia Saturday 400)


Our Sepia Saturday theme image this week features a 1914 photograph from the collection of the National Library of Ireland, of the Mote family all lined up in their spick and span splendour. My best efforts to match the theme image fall a little short: I don't know the family name, I don't know the date, they are not lined up and they challenge the description "spick and span". Nevertheless they look like a family and they have splendour in spades.

The print this scan came from was given to me by a relative and passed it on to me because they had no idea of who it might be. So we will abandon the search for a name in order to concentrate on estimating a date. My best guess would be the late 1920s or early 1930s, and this is based on both the type of photograph and the dress styles of the participants. My first guess at the occupation of the father was that he might be a miner, but I am beginning to revise this in order to flirt with the idea of an agricultural worker. The cross-over collar the man is wearing should be a significant clue in identifying both date and occupation, but alas, my knowledge of clothing styles is limited. There is no excuse for such ignorance, and given the fact that I have nothing better to do with my life, I have just ordered an illustrated guide to dating photographs by, amongst other things, clothing styles. Hopefully this might provide some answers, and if it does, I will share them with you.

I did make an attempt to line the family up more in the style of the Mote family, but somehow it didn't work very well (and, in what might be a surprise to the parents, I seem to have blessed them with another child!)  This isn't a family to be lined up, ironed-out, in parade-ground order. This is a family that binds together, supports each other, whose lives overlap with dirty-dress and flat-cap informality. I still don't know who they are, but I think I prefer them to the Motes.

To see what others are doing with the Sepia Saturday theme this week, go to the Sepia Saturday Blog and follow the links.

9 comments:

  1. I see some interesting emotions on the faces of these people, giving me a glimpse into their relationship with the photographer. There's a certain relaxed joy going on, which even though Mum wanted to hide behind her brood, she and everyone seems happy to be lined up and have a photo taken of them, though young woman in the center wants to look gruff, her eyes are smiling. Just my opinioin.

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  2. I am intrigued by the cross-over collar. It seems like the white shirt and collar would be more appropriate for a cleaner occupation.

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  3. I would guess 1920s-30s also, based on the mother's and daughters' shorter haircuts. Short bobs were in style then, as were shorter easier-to-move-in skirts. Great photo find!

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  4. I think it's an Irish family, and quit the messin' around. Fun photo.

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  5. It's a fine family portrait that exudes the sepia grime that people of earlier times endured. Nonetheless it accentuates the Northern character of their faces. Perhaps an uncle with a camera was visiting. And I think Molly has it right about the hair.

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  6. Such a variety of facial expressions.

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  7. Your Right Alan. I See An Honest Integrity in them

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  8. I've never seen a cross-over collar before. Interesting. The family does appear to be happy at having their photo taken, but I'll bet the Mum and Dad wouldn't be too thrilled with having yet another child to feed and clothe with your lineup!

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  9. I agree that they look better in a group, but just what did happen to the identical twin?

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