The photograph shown here is an example of a crowd scene at the turn of the 20th century. It's a wonderful picture and I am showing it here to enable you readers to see how to analyse your own picture. My technique of using the costume as the main point of reference, may help you to date your own picture to within 5 years. In this example I believe that I have dated this photograph to within one year. To do this can be something of a tall order, because a photograph such as this might take several days of thinking time. Then after I have mulled over it, several hours of actual close study of the detail.
Even at first glance, it is clear that this picture is a superb representation of Edwardian middle class folk, with some working class folk; the key point is that all the people are dressed in the fashions of the day. The scene suggests they are either waiting for someone special to visit, such as the King or Queen, alternatively, that they are awaiting with serious intent for bad news of some accident, such as a mining or factory disaster.
Another possibility is that they are awaiting transport to take them on a trip for the day. If the year was slightly later I might think they were seeing men off to war. Another point to be aware of is that at least some of the crowd may old fashioned, and behind the times in their dress. I'd say the photograph was taken in Spring as they all wear coats, but also fashionable Spring-like hats, which could be Easter Bonnets for Mothering Sunday.
When dating a costume picture by dress, I always seek out the most fashionable details, which are generally found on the younger women. These details refer not only to the garments themselves, but also the hairstyle, particularly hair partings and whether the hair fringes or sweeps up.
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Another source of clues are the hats, examine their width, height and snugness of fit. This photograph has no hairstyles to concentrate on, but it does have wonderful hats by the dozen. The fashion hats are the main clue here, as no heads are visible in the adult women. These hats are wide enough to be circabut could be as early as bearing in mind some of the clothes. Even with magnification I cannot find one single woman without a hat or head covering.
This picture is living proof that the era was still dominated by formality, even the ordinary people obey the rules of etiquette as you can see in the photography. That formality was swept away by the First World War when rigid rules of dress codes were broken down.
And this point helps us to date a photograph as the early part of the twentieth century. I've circled a copy of the original photograph as the detail is crisper and some circles will be used here to identify certain cts of costume history details. Several factors amongst the images suggest that we should date the photograph afterup to the later dates of I don't feel this photograph is later thaneven in an unfashionable town.
The boys with bicycles in the left hand side background are wearing Eton style school-uniform jackets, and collars often featured in books circa The puffed heads on garment sleeves are very subdued so that dates the picture later than Other than where specified, I am in all cases referring to female adult fashionable dress.
I can eliminate as a possible date as there simply is not enough fullness in the sleeves of any of these adult garments, moreover, the children's dress supports this view. I believe it is after and the factor that suggests this most is the rounded domes of the hats.
You can see what I mean by looking at the many instances of hats, as in circles 6, 8 and Click thumbnail for a full enlargement. These detailed circled sections are beside the explanatory text. Let's look at the picture starting with circle 1.
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Elements of the coat could suggest it to be circa The sleeves with soft fullness at the head and the fitted silhouette suggest late Victorian styling. But the hat is too big for that date. Hats tight and neater, with less width, were dominant in the late s.
Reference circle 1 left, is probably one of the best sections to use for generally dating the picture.
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The picture below for reference 1 enlarges fully. The coat is typically Edwardian, and because a waist is in evidence, I think it is before After that date waistlines were much higher following Directoire styles, and under-the-bust empire lines, but of course when women buy a coat they even now expect 2 or 3 years wear from it. Vintage hairstyles A look at how women wore their hair in eras past, illustrated with photos of modern recreations.
Dating Victorian Era Photos Leave a comment Uncategorized. Helpful Clothing Clues. If you're hitting a brick wall when it comes to identifying family members in old photos from the Victorian era, you're not alone. Even the most seasoned family historian will run into this headscratcher from time to time as Victorian fashions. Spread the love The Costume Detective How to Date a Photograph Using Costume History Example 1 - By Pauline Weston Thomas for keitaiplus.com The Costume Detective How to Date Photos with Costume History Using Costume History to Date an Old Photograph Fashion-era Photo Analysis My Reply to Norman Estimating the Date of the Old [ ]. Victorian Photos from Germany Dated German Photographs Unused Attractive Printable Pages from a Victorian AlbumUseful Pages Victorian & Edwardian PhotographsHills amp; Saunders, Harrow Branch (Search Pages Only) Photographs of named 19th century artists Famous Artists.
Also see some sketches of vintage hairstyles here. If I needed more data points, other style cues I could research would be the fit of the dresses, the hairstyles, and their jewelry. By way of example, your relative might have been a trendsetter or perhaps she cared little about fashion and was always a few years behind.
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Tiny bow ties and slim cravats. Semi-fitted coats and jackets, buttoned high. Stiff shirt collars with tips turned down. Hair parted in the center. Many type of facial hair: full mustaches, full beards, walrus mustaches that droop down and are oiled. Tip: During the s it was rare to see a man with a clean-shaven face.
As the Victorian era neared its ending during the s, fashionable men preferred lounge suits over more formal suit styles for daywear.
Lounge suits offered slim silhouettes and jackets were worn partially undone, showing off a more relaxed style and revealing high-buttoned waistcoats and watch chains. High-buttoned waistcoats. Stiff collars, turned down. Watch fob chains.
Narrow bow ties. Shorter hairstyles. Lounge suits continued to trend well into the s with trousers sporting creases down the front. Older gentlemen still wore frock coats, but younger conservative men would sometimes do so, as well.
Shirt collars were still worn high and starched with tips turned down into wings during the earlier part of the s. Collars were then worn down with long, knotted ties during the latter part of the decade.
Date Your Old Photos: Tips from the Photo Detective
Stand up wing tip collars. Wide lapels with contrasting fabric. Four-in-hand large knot ties. Military uniforms with stand up collars.
A more accurate way - if your photograph is a carte de visite or a cabinet card (i.e. - only) - is to use our DIY dating wizard - it is UNIQUE and FUN and is available ONLY on this website. The Wizard will date your photograph to within a 9 year time span or less, if not, we will custom date your photograph personally at no additional cost. The site for the university's Landscape Change program offers a wealth of information about dating vintage/antique photographs using cues such as women's clothing, hats, hairstyles, fashion. A guide to dating daguerreotypes, ambrotypes and tintypes by their mats and cases. mats and cases through illustrated and dated. Genealogy Photo Clues (Facebook) A worldwide Facebook community who play detective with vintage photos and learn how to date photos, as well as learning interesting history along the way.
Short hair parted on the side without sideburns. Heavy mustaches.
Dating victorian photos
Tip: Older men sported beards during this decade, while more and more younger men were opting for clean shaves. Victorian era fashions drew to a close in the early s to make way for Edwardian era styles.
Due to the growth in the fashion industry, the ability to mass-produce clothing made it more affordable for any man to be fashionable - not just the elite. Norfolk jackets were introduced during this time period and sack coats were still worn over evening attire.
Cuffed trousers were also fashionable during the early s.
Calf-length overcoats. Norfolk jackets look for box pleats over the chest and matching fabric belts.