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Saturday, 12 August 2017

Gazing into space and time: who were these people?


Our Sepia Saturday prompt this week is a cabinet portrait or carte de visite, in which the gentleman is adopting a pose that was quite popular with photographers of the period. The card below shows a lady in a similar leaning pose. It comes courtesy of my distant half cousin Kim in New Zealand. This photo and the others I've included were taken in Christchurch New Zealand by photographers Grand and Dunlop, who operated there from about 1875 to 1887. There is some interesting information about Grand and Dunlop in a blog about early New Zealand photographers
together with a number of their photographs showing subjects in poses very much like the ones I have from Kim. The question of course is, who are they? The only one of the set that we believe we've identified so far is Margaret Nancarrow nee Paterson, who emigrated to NZ in 1861 with her parents and siblings. Two more daughters were born after the family arrived in New Zealand. It could be that the other four photographs are of Margaret's sister Mary Shaw and their three Scots born brothers John, James and Alexander.  If this is the case, the first rather weary looking lady could possibly be their mother Mary Anderson, who was my 2 x great grandmother and would have been in her mid fifties in 1876.  Mary was previously married to another Charles, Charles Forbes, with whom she had already produced five children, the youngest of whom was my great grandfather. I think having borne 12 children would be enough to make anyone look care worn!

                                          

Margaret Nancarrow nee Paterson





The problem with my theory as to the identity of the lady above is that I am reliably advised that the photograph below is definitely of Mary Paterson nee Anderson, previously Forbes. So I'm not convinced that this is the same person as in my first photograph above, but whoever that lady was, she matches the prompt. Other Sepians have likely also found matching photographs from a similar time period, as you may discover if you read their posts at Sepia Saturday #380.

My 2x great grandmother, Mary Paterson nee Anderson, born Deskford, Banff, Scotland 1821, died Amberley, Canterbury NZ 1899 
                              


7 comments:

  1. The first and last lady don't look like the same person to me. I look tired and I only had 6 children.

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  2. Yes.I think you have a match.I find the lady's expression very hard to read .It similar in both images ( although the body language in the top photo is 'tired') but her expression is more than just that.......?an interesting lady.

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  3. Apparently Grand & Dunlop photography studio had one backdrop, one chair, and one sofa or chaise with a large rolled arm. And all those women with those severe hairstyles. I've never wondered before, but now I wonder when women finally started rolling their hair up in something to make it curl? Even braiding it at night would do it. Wonder why they didn't?

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  4. I agree that the two photos could well be the same lady, with years and more children in between! I don't look at the eyes as much as the mouth and ear lobes...though that's not necessarily going to prove much. Great post with the same studio and different subjects!

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  5. That rolled sofa (chaise) arm really got mileage, right? And the women may not be related...it could be that they have that same "look" that appears so often in photos of that time...

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  6. This is so interesting because I was looking around ebay the other day in hopes of finding a photo of my great-grandmother. I have nothing about her other than her name, marriage, and name of her children. I looked at so many woman from the same area and thought "well, this one looks a bit like my grandmother so maybe." I'm glad you at least have one confirmed photo of your great-great.

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  7. The last photo is a beauty for you to have,

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