Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Letters Patent For Artistic Improvements



According to the scrawled date on the reverse of this Victorian Cabinet Card, it was taken somewhere around the 11th November 1889. The clothing and the photographic style fits well with this date, and we know that the studio - Brown, Barnes & Bell of Liverpool and London - were active at the time.

​The reverse of the card has all the usual flourish of Victorian studio portraits, including an intriguing claim that the studio possessed "Letters patent for artistic improvements"


If only Mssrs Brown, Barnes or Bell had been lucky enough to be around 130 years later, they would have been able to take advantage of the multitude of mobile apps that can perform endless degrees of artistic improvement in this day and age. I conducted a small experiment on their behalf, which, I hope, the original sitter would have been pleased with. Let's say it is the first portrait from the studio of Brown, Barnes, Bell & Burnett.


Saturday, December 07, 2019

A Day Out In Lincoln

Our Sepia Saturday theme image this week shows a man in a shop. I went through my various collections of old photographs in search of something to match a shopping theme, and the best I could come up with was an old photograph of mine of a newspaper seller in Lincoln. In these digital days, it is difficult to find actual newspaper sellers any more. And in an age dominated by on-line shopping, how long will it be before the same will be said about other types of shop?



On a day out in Lincoln, camera in hand, sometime in the mid 1980s. The memorable shot from this strip of three negatives, is the one of the newspaper seller. Do such wooden huts on wheels still exist? When I still buy newspapers, and I have to confess that is only occasionally, they are in digital form and I have them delivered to my computer. Such smart apps have no place for little old men in flat caps - mores the pity.


For other Sepia Saturday posts go to the Sepia Saturday Blog and follow the links.

Monday, December 02, 2019

Brighouse Basin Street Blues


During a regular scanning session of my old negatives, I came across this 35mm negative from the late 1960s - and I suspected that it had been taken in Brighouse Canal Basin. In order to confirm my suspicions, I took a walk there this morning and took a series of shots of the canal basin fifty years on. Everything has changed but the basic shape and structure of the canal and locks. So much of what has happened over the last fifty years can be seen in the changes between these two photographs: the gas works and mill chimneys are gone, the pleasure craft moorings and waterside bar restaurants have arrived.




Whilst walking around the moorings I was reminded of an incident that occurred there some 55 years ago. My brother had a canal barge that was moored in the canal basin, and my father and I were visiting him one evening. His was the only boat in the basin - the scene was just as bleak and empty as in that old negative of mine. All of a sudden we heard an almighty splash, and as we emerged from his boat we saw a car slowly sinking below the dark waters of the canal. Assuming there must have been a driver in the car, my brother was on the point of diving into the water to see if he could rescue anyone, when my father - a Yorkshireman of the old school - warned him that by doing so he would ruin a perfectly good pair of trousers! Our debate was curtailed by the sight of the driver emerging from below the surface of the water, and we managed to drag him out of the canal from the comparative safety of the towpath, without risking our health and our trousers. 

The water is much cleaner these days and there wasn't a sinking car nor a suicidal driver to be seen.

Letters Patent For Artistic Improvements

According to the scrawled date on the reverse of this Victorian Cabinet Card, it was taken somewhere around the 11th November 1889. T...