• Do you love Genealogy? Why not write for us? we're looking for volunteers to write articles for Family history. Please contact us for further information.

Can you help identify the era of this clothing?

Posts
21
Likes
0
Location
Mackay
#1
Hi Everyone,

Can anyone help me identify the period of costume in this photo please?
There are no identifying names or studio etc. on it.

It was given to my mother by her mother, who told her it was of the "Original Scots who first came here." (i.e. were sent/immigrated to Australia.)
So we believe it's of Lewis (b. 1814 d. 1902) and Margaret Wiseman, nee Macpherson Grant b. 1818 d. 1884)

Lewis was sent here in 1852 and Margaret followed in 1854.

It appears Margaret is wearing tartan, which certainly fits with the Scottish tradition. And her belt is very disctinctive.
I've tried googling clothing and fashions such as clothing and hairstyles of the era and found it difficult to identify.

Any help or ideas, links etc. would be appreciated.

Thanks
Marilyn
 

Attachments

duckweed

Loyal Member
Posts
3,087
Likes
6
Location
Sheffield
#2
She obviously has a hooped petticoat which dates it to post 1850s I think. My guess is that this photo was probably taken either just before he left or just after she arrived in USA to send to relatives. Is there anything on the back of the photo?
 

JMR

Valued Member
Posts
488
Likes
0
Location
Melbourne
#5
Hi there,

Photos only became common for the general populace after 1860. Older ladies tended to wear their clothes well beyond the fashion trend past as well, so Duckweed probably had it right for the dress, about mid 1850s to 60s, but the photo would be post 1860, even 1870s, would be my guess.

Jill
 
Posts
21
Likes
0
Location
Mackay
#6
Thanks for all your replies. The era/s you suggest match what I believe about these ancestors. Though I'd never heard of "Duckweed" before, so I learnt something new!
Having no identifying particulars can be a pain.

The woman in the photo by the way, was from a very rich Scottish family, disowned by them because she married Lewis - a commoner.
He was sent to Australia in 1852 for "poaching on the lairds property", i.e, her families castle grounds. (I wonder if that was a setup to get rid of him?) She followed him two years later with their children.

The particular problem I had with the photo was that apparently it's the only photo of them in existence. No family member has ever seen a photo of them prior to my sending copies so it's authenticity (what my mother was told by hers), was questioned, which is why I wanted to at least try and date it. And the family has been researched extensively in Australia and overseas.

I believe she may be wearing tartan - which would obviously make sense as they were Scots. Unfortunately the lack of colour doesn't give any insight into which tartan it is, though from what I've learnt it doesn't look like the Wiseman tartan.

Oh well, I know it's them!

Thanks again for all your help. I'm finding this to be a fantastic, friendly forum. Hope I can help someone else along the line!
Cheers
Marilyn
 

duckweed

Loyal Member
Posts
3,087
Likes
6
Location
Sheffield
#7
I have family photos around that era and my family were not in the wealthy bracket. One was so treasured that it was passed down in the wills. I even have a glass one. I think the glass one is of a Martin who emigrated to the USA.

There seems to be a lot of American, Australian early photographs for ordinary people and my guess is they saved up for a photo so loved ones would have an image of them. Well you would wouldn't you?
 
Posts
21
Likes
0
Location
Mackay
#8
Duckweed,

I totally agree :)
Though she came from a wealthy family she certainly wouldn't have been after being disowned. I think this probably would have been taken some years after arriving in Australia and living in much poorer conditions as one of their children was born in a tent they were living in some time after they arrived here.
As you said, they probably had to save up to pay for it adn they certainly are treasures.

Marilyn
 

don

Member
Posts
16
Likes
0
Location
London area
#11
Just to add to the comments with regards to the date period of this image. It would have been taken no later than 1871/2 as the style of dress with the low stitching to the shoulder area to form epaulettes went out of fashion at this time on womens clothing. Also the photographer has used a neck stand to keep his subjects still whilst the exposure was taking place these were going out of use by the start of the 1870's and by the mid 1870's there were rarely used as photography was progressing. I also would not put too much stock on the fact that she appears to be wearing tartan as the material could well be just a plain check.

Don.
 
Posts
21
Likes
0
Location
Mackay
#12
Thanks Don,
your comments help a lot. True, the material could be plain check.
Can you elucidate about neck stands? What are they?
Another problem I have is guessing their age when this was taken but their are probably too many factors to be taken into account such as genetics, lifestyle etc.?
Also, if you know, do you think your comments regarding the style of dress and neck stands would have been applicable in Australia at the time?
Or was Australia "behind the times".

Cheers
Marilyn
 
Posts
16
Likes
0
Location
London area
#13
Hi Marilyn,

Neck stands, also known as a neck brace or head brace, were used by early photographers to keep their subjects still during the length of time for the exposure to take place (in some cases early exposure time could take up to twenty minutes). The stand would consist of an adjustable pole fixed to three feet and at the top of the pole would be the brace which in most cases could be adjusted to fit the subject. There were also leg and body braces that could be used if needed. If you look at the left foot of the gent in your image you can see one of the feet of the neck stand just behind his foot.

Looking closer at the belt that the woman is wearing it could be a Medici belt otherwise known as a Swiss belt but as the image pixellates too badly when enlarged it is hard for me to say one way or the other.

Although the length of travel time from England to Australia was far greater then as it is today fashion conscious women were kept up to date with what was being worn in England and the rest of Europe with the arrival of the ships that would dock. Also once established, drapers and milliners would be wanting to keep up to date with the latest fashions and would have items sent out to them so that they could be copied. This would also apply to photographers who would either bring their equipment with them when emigrating or send away for items, either from suppliers in Australia (once they were established) or from England and Europe.

don.
 
Posts
21
Likes
0
Location
Mackay
#14
Thanks again Don, that's fascinating.

I have other photos in which I've noticed it looks like something is sticking out near the feet. Now I know what it is!

It's unfortunate the photo pixelates too much for you to see if it's a Medici belt. I have the image on my PC and it doesn't look too bad enlarged so I'll see if I can find something similar to compare it to. A quick look wasn't too helpful...

Thanks again so much for the information. It's helped to clear up who I believe these people are.

Marilyn
 

woodlander

Valued Member
Posts
929
Likes
0
Location
Chorley
#15
Sorry I can't help with the photograph but it's a story familiar to me from my own tree - I wish I had as much info to prove mine Marilyn; thanks for sharing.
Fascinating info Don, thanks, I didn't know of these stands and will try to go further with some of my own pics now.
Good luck with taking it further :)
 

Similar threads

Top