Here we see a cabinet portrait of three unidentified English brothers. The portrait is undated, but looks to have been taken about 1900-05. We are not positive about this, but believe that it is fairly close to the dates. We might guess that they lived in Devonport because that was where the HMS Lion was berthed. The boys look to be about 10-18 years of age. The youngest boy looks to be about 10-years old. He wears a single-brested, vested suite with tie and Eton collar. The suit has knicker pants and is worn with long stockings. He is holding a boater hat. This seems fairly standard for the time. We are less sure about the middle brother who looks to be about 13 years old. He is wearing a sailor suit. We do not think that this is a boys' sailor, but an actual uniform. This is both because of the boy's age the fact that the suit is an exact version of a Royal Navy uniform. What we are unsure of is if he is a trainee on the naval training ship HMS Lion (1871-1904). A new HMS Lion battle cruiser was launched (1910) and served in World War I. If our dating is correct, he would have been a trainee. The portrait is also interesting because we can see from the background that it is not a studio portrait. There is no studio information on the mount. We suspect that the photographer was an itnerant photigrapher than went from house to house offring his ervices. Their older brother also wears a single breasted suit and boater, but with a soft collar.
A British reader interested in photography, writes, "The photo of the three young gents looks to be the work of a professional photographer but could be by a very enthusiastic amateur. Itís very nicely posed so I would lean towards a professional photographer. I have no knowledge of whether photographers went from door to door in this era but certainly in later years this was a common practice. My late father-in-law worked for a Great Yarmouth firm of photographers taking walking photos in the summer season after WW2. In the winter months he took school photos and went out knocking on doors to try to get families to have photos taken in their homes, this is of course much later than your photograph. In the era of your photograph itís possible that a photographerís studio would go to a customerís home for a special occasion.
So I am sorry to say my observations are inconclusive regarding you image. Most of my researches are about seaside street photographers in the post WW1 era to the 1970s but please feel free to ask me about any photograph because I may know a bit about the photographer especially if itís taken in the Great Yarmouth, Norwich or Lowestoft area.
Best wishes from sunny Lowestoft." [Godfrey]
Godfrey, Paul. E-mailmessafe, June 6, 2012.
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