Here is a professionally taken photograph in Montreal. The boy is Master M.E. Beckett, taken in a Montreal studio on December 6, 1899. I would assume that young Master Beckett, a boy of about 16 or 17, hailed from a prominent Anglophone family in the city. He is very elegantly dressed in the style of a young adult except for the teenage knee pants and ribbed long stockings (black of course, as would have been standard). The suit is quite beautifully tailored and may have been bespoke (that is, made to order by one of the several Montreal tailoring establishments). It is in the Norfolk style with a belted front and additional strips of cloth down the front (and probably the back as well).
This boy is Master M. E. Beckett, but at this time we know nothing about him or his family. We believe he probably came from a prominently Anglophone family in Montreal. He looks to be about 16 or 17 years of age. This boy is probably a fairly
advanced high-schooler. I wonder if this could be a graduation protrait.
Here is a professionally taken photograph ina Montreal photographic studio. While Montreal is the heart of French Canada, we assume that Beckett was an Anglophone family. Much of the city's leadersgip was of English-speaking families until after the turn of the century.
The portrait was tken on December 6, 1899.
Master Beckett is very elegantly dressed in the style of a young adult except for the teenage knee pants and ribbed long stockings (black of course, as would have been standard).
The boy wears an elegant starched white shirt that seem to have cuffs to be worn with cuff links rather than buttons although we can't be sure of this. With the shirt he wears a stiff straight-up starched collar, obviously attached by collar buttons in front and back. The shirt and collar seems the sort of dress that one would expect to see being sported by a young lawyer, business man, or university professor on formal occasions at the turn of the century.
There looks like a black or at least very dark four-in-hand necktie.
The suit is quite beautifully tailored and may have been bespoke (that is, made to order by one of the several Montreal tailoring establishments). It is in the Norfolk style with a belted front and additional strips of cloth down the front (and probably the back as well). The suit belt, made of the same material as the rest
of the jacket, buttons in front with a button that matches the other front
buttons of the jacket. I think it was part of the jacket.
Somewhat unusually, perhaps, the knee pants lack the traditional ornamental buttons at the knee and are simply made plain. A reader asks, "A boy of 16 or 17 still with short trousers? Could he perhaps be one or two years younger?" Well estimating ages in these old photographs is not a precise process. The boy here could be a little younger or older. The kneepants can be misleading. Of course modern boys that age would wear long pants. But this is the 1890s. We note quite old teenagers wearing kneepants in the 1890s. Not all did, there were substantial variations from family to family. Here regional and social class factors were involved. There were younger boys wearing long pants as well as older boys wearing kneepants.
black long stockings are ribbed rather than plain--a dressy and, I believe, masculine touch. I have read elsewhere that boys liked to wear ribbed long stockings in Canada rather than plain-knitted ones. The ribbing helped to distinguish boys' stockings from those worn by girls, and ribbed stockings were more elastic and therefore more form-fitting. They looked less bulky.
Information on the styles here can be found in the HBC catalog section. We have much more information in the United States section where similar styles can be found. Our Canadian section is still limited, but we are working on it.
The hair style is also worth remarking on. Notice the short back and sides but the slightly longer front waves with a center part.
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