I thought this portrait had a distinctly Pre-Raphaelite look about it with when I first discovered and I very quickly filed it away to one side before continuing the search through the box I’d found it in [sadly there wasn’t anything like it or even an photograph of the same sitter that might help shed some light on the photographs provenance]. It reminded me of “Autumn Leaves” by John Everett Millais, which I vaguely recall from Manchester Art Gallery, although the sitter is a bit older and her attire is more Bohemian.
It looks like a lot of thought has gone into this portrait, don’t you think? I would have thought a pose that leaves half of the sitter’s face in shadow would be undesirable, so I find the contrast of light and dark fascinating, but also rather surprising. Perhaps the sitter or the photographer inspired by the publicity photographs of their favourite silent era film actresses? The back of the photograph is blank, but I’m guessing this photograph was taken in Yorkshire, judging by the provenance of the other photographs along side it, and I’d love to think that, even in cities like Hull, studio photographers were aiming to instill a touch of Hollywood glamour into their work.
What a gem. It looks like the photographer has called on this lady at home [an indication of poor mobility on the part of the sitter perhaps] and has arranged a very interesting scene in the back yard. Look at the character in this lady’s face. She must have had a great love of photographs; note the photograph frame and photograph albums on the table beside her [and the pot plant; obviously a prized possession for it to be included]. I wonder how many more portraits she had taken after this one?
All of these photographs were purchased at “Granny’s Parlour”, 33 Anlady Road, Hull, HU1 2PG.