Last night I came across these two incredible Victorian photographs. I was instantly taken by both and drawn to them in some inexplicable way. I knew I had to paint these girls.
I adore photographs of Victorian children and wonder at their lives, interests and the people they eventually became in a world that was ever changing.
These two photographs are so different, both portraying a moment of childhood which could never again be reproduced. The left image, a cabinet card of a young English girl was designed to be reproduced and given out to friends and family. It shows a well posed young lady beautifully attired possibly framing a coming of age moment, maybe confirmation or first communion.
The tintype of two sisters is a much smaller personal image reproduced onto a metal support. This is a rather quick and clumsily executed photograph with modest props and a hastily painted scene in the background. I was taken by the feeling of recklessness that this photo seemed to emanate. These American children who's family may even have hired their outfits from the photographer possibly knew a very different kind of childhood than the young lady in the first image. There is something rough about them, something free in their stance and demeanor which made this image appeal to me.