Dating photographs by clothing

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Gallery of English Costume | Platt Hall, Rusholme, Manchester M14 5LL | 01 Does not offer a formal photograph-dating service, but may be able to offer some advice.Jean Debney | 8 Huckleberry Close, Purley-on-Thames, Reading RG8 8EH An independent freelance genealogist who provides a photograph-dating service, using fashion as the key, for a reasonable fee but only by post.1860s If you look at the image of the standing person in the photo (or lady sitting on a chair) and you can see both head and feet with a carpet some old furniture and studio props such as a curtain, the man may have a jacket buttoned only at the top and the woman has a down to the ground wide dress and her ears cannot be seen for the hair covering it and the back of the card has a simple print for the photographers name and the cardboard feels a bit thin - it is from the first half of the 1860s. Men wore lounge suits with matching waistcoats by the middle of the decade. 1870s If the portrait is a half or three-quarter (no feet) the ladies hair is less severe, with perhaps a curl, and perhaps much jewellery and perhaps sitting down in a more casual way, clothes trimmed with lace or tassles.If the photograph is on a post card mount, then it won’t date before 1902. Many CDVs include the name of the photography studio.

The National Army Museum runs regular photo dating sessions and there will be military photo daters at this year’s Who Do You Think You Are? It’s also worth posting images on specialist forums such as Victorian Wars, the Great War forum or our own WDYTYA? This might seem obvious, but if a photograph is stuck in an old album or framed up on the wall, it may be that nobody has looked on the back for years.

in 1898 Postcards replaced cabinet cards and CDVs as the main type of cheap studio portrait and peaking during the First World War.

Some cabinet and CDV photos were produced for the first decade of the century as there was still a demand, but the later cabinet card looked a little different, simple logo and studio on the bottom front and often with embossed patterns or channels and saw-cut edges or pinking and rarely any writing on the back.

This card, sent from the Sudan in 1941, features a photograph of a soldier inserted into a festive mount.

We find some of the most common queries from readers are to do with photo dating.

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