Figure 1.--This portrait of an Eton College boys shows him wearing a naval uniform for the 4th of June celebration. Image courtesy of the MD collection. Click on the image for a modern view of the 4 of June.

W.C.Bryce (England, about 1905)

W.C.Bryce was a student at Britain's famed Eton school. He looks to be a new boy or at least a junior student. We know nothing about the boy. As an Eton student, however, he must have come from an affluent family. Also this uniform must have been rather expensuve. He is dressed in an early 19th century naval unioform, dating from the Napoleonic War era--although we have seen British admirals wearing similar uniforms for formal occassions into the early 20th century. Eton has a June 4 celebration each year when the boys dress up in fancy naval uniforms I would have guessed that the portrait was taken in the 1890s, but our British contributor tells us that it was in collection of Eton photographs taken from 1901-10.

W.C. Bryce

W.C.Bryce was a student at Britain's famed Eton school. He looks to be a new boy or at least a junior student. We know nothing about the boy. As an Eton student, however, he must have come from an affluent family. Also this uniform must have been rather expensuve.

Eton School

Eton College is one of the best known schools in the world. Americans think of colleges as small universities. Colleges in most of the rest of the world are secondary schools, as is Eton College, albeit a prestigious one. Eton College was founded in 1440, nearly 58 after the founding of Winchester school, by William Waynflete, Bishop of Winchester, under the patronage of Henry VI--the Scholar King, and with the title of "the College of the Blessed Mary of Eaton beside Windsor." The buildings were completed between 1491 and 1523. The original buildings consist of two quadrangles containing the chappel, the upper and lower schools, appartments for officials, the library, and offices. The school has produced a long list of distinguished former pupils, including Sir Robert Walpole, Robert Hartley, william Pitt the Elder, Horace Walpole, the Duke of Wellington, Thomas Gray, Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Ewart Gladstone.

Uniform

He is dressed in an early 19th century naval unioform, dating from the Napoleonic War era--although we have seen British admirals wearing similar uniforms for formal occassions into the early 20th century. The boy here wears an officer's uniform. We note that in modern celebrations that many boys wear the uniform of ordnary enlisted seamen. I'm not sure how common this was at the turn of the 20th century when this portrait was taken.

4 of June

Eton has a June 4 celebration each year when the boys dress up in fancy naval uniforms. The uniforms can be serious reproductions of these uniforms as seen here. In modern elebrations at Eton the uniforms are more fanciful, probanbly in part reflecting the substantial cost of a uniform like the one pictured her and a more light-hearted irreverent approach to the event. Boys now often festoon their costumes with garlands of flowers. June 4 is a gala day as near as practicable to the actual date when parents, friends, and relations are made welcome. Alongside a number of exhibitions and sporting events, the day features Speeches and the Procession of Boats. Procession of Boats An event on the Fourth of June when the best oarsmen in the School of all ages, dressed in festive 19th-century naval uniform, row past the crowd of parents etc. assembled on the bank and salute them by raising their oars and standing up (which sometimes results in their capsizing, to the huge delight of the crowd).

Chronology

I would have guessed that the portrait was taken in the 1890s, but our British contributor tells us that it was in collection of Eton photographs taken from 1901-10.

Photography

It is slightly unusual to find Carte de Visites in this period as most photographers would have gone over to the postcard format by this time. I think this is especially true inAmerica. A HBC reader reports, however, that he has seen many British CDVs and a large number of German CDVs dating from this period.








Christopher Wagner







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Created: November 4, 2002
Last edited: November 4, 2002