Oct 28 2011: Twenty Four Victorian Studio Portraits of Women in a Variety of Settings: First Part (English, c.1880 – 1900)

Following the galleries of Victorian studio portraits of children and men posted here earlier in the week, here is the first part of a far larger gallery of images of women from the same period. It’s not clear why there are so many more portraits of females: perhaps it reflects a bias in the collection as found, or perhaps there was a more general tendency for portraits of women to be made, but it’s not clear which option applies. What is certain is that while there were 11 portraits of children (mainly girls) in the box, and a further 11 portraits of men, with just one showing a couple together, there were 45 of women, of ages ranging from youthful to matronly. Their likenesses are captured in a variety of studio settings, and while undated, the locations are often specified though, in these images, everywhere – from Clapham and St Leonards on Sea to Exeter and Dawlish – is represented by a curtain, an occasional painted backdrop and a selection of furniture. There’s no sense of place, in other words, which perhaps partly explains the slightly anthropological air that clings to many of these portraits, as though each represents a type rather than a specific individual.

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