Vintage Photos by Victorian Pioneer Julia Margaret Cameron (1815 – 1879)

Julia Margaret Cameron (1815 – 1879) was a British photographer, whose subjects were the celebrities of the victorian period and photographs with Arthurian and other legendary themes. Cameron was a devoted pioneer of the art of photography. She was visionary in her belief of the ‘divine’ power of the medium, daring in her experiments with image making and persistent in the promotion of her work. Cameron was 48 years old when she obtained her first camera, given to her as a gift by her daughter and son-in-law. Cameron was religious, well-read and a bit eccentric. She wrote upon receiving the camera: “From the first moment I handled my lens with a tender ardour,” … “and it has become to me as a living thing, with voice and memory and creative vigour.”

She produced the majority of her work from her home at Freshwater on the Isle of Wight. By the coercive force of her eccentric personality, she enlisted everyone around her as models, from family members to domestic servants and local residents. Cameron acted out scenes from mythology, the Bible and Shakespeare, even creating an entire series based off Tennyson’s poetry. The wife of a retired jurist, Cameron moved in the highest circles of society in Victorian England. Having friends in the Victorian poetry and science circles like Alfred Lord Tennyson and Sir John Herschel. These accomplished compatriots soon became Cameron’s favorite subjects.

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Maud (Illustration to Tennyson’s Idylls of the King and Other Poems), 1875

Alice Liddell, 1872

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The Sunflower, 1866

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After the Manner of Perugino, 1865

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The Eccho, 1868

“She Walks In Beauty” by Lord Byron

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow’d to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair’d the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

Amazing Victorian Photos of Muse Jane Morris (1860s)

Jane Morris (née Jane Burden 1839 –  1914) was an English artists’ model who embodied the Pre-Raphaelite ideal of beauty. Her father was a stableman and her mother a laundress, Jane Burden grew up in impoverished surroundings in Oxford.

She became a model and muse to the artists William Morris, whom she married  in 1859, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

Although she married Morris, it was Dante Gabriel Rossetti who first spotted Jane at a performance at Drury Lane Theatre in 1857 and asked her if she would model for his paintings.

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Jane Morris, posed by Rossetti by John R Parsons, 1865 via

John Robert Parsons, under the direction of Rossetti, 1865
© V&A Images / Victoria and Albert Museum, London via

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Jane Morris, posed by Rossetti by John R Parsons, 1865 via

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Jane Morris, posed by Rossetti by John R Parsons, 1865 via

A Colection of Vintage Photos Feat. Lady Randolph Churchill

Lady Randolph Churchill (1854 – 1921), born Jeanette (Jennie) Jerome, was the daughter of a wealthy New York stock broker. She was one of 350 Dollar Princesses marrying into British aristocracy to save their estates.

In 1874 she married Lord Randolph Churchill, the third son of John Winston Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough and Lady Frances Anne Emily Vane. Their son was British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

She was part of the Prince of Wales’ set (Queen Victoria’s son) and a close confidante of the man who would become King Edward VII (and who was rumoured to have been one of her lovers). Their crew had a fondness for fast living and tattoos – Jennie had a snake design curling around her wrist (source).

Throughout her life she wore the finest fashions of the age, setting trends in striking creations by Worth and maintained her luxurious standard of living even when running desperately short of funds. She was lavish in the way she lived – her clothes, her affairs, the energy she poured into furthering Winston’s career – and unapologetic, even when society scorned her for marrying men young enough to be her sons (her second husband, George Cornwallis-West was twenty years her junior and her third, Montagu Phippen Porch, was even younger (source).

Lady Randolph Churchill, 1875 via

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Lady Randolph Churchill via

Lady Randolph Churchill, 1877 via

Lady Randolph Churchill, 1895 via

Lady Randolph Churchill via

 

A Collection of Vintage Photos Feat. Ice Skaters

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Ice Skating couple

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Ice Skating on the Lullwater Prospect Park

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1901 Ice Skating on Great Miami River

Women-Ice-Skating by J.R. Taylor

Women Ice Skating by J.R. Taylor

Ice skating - Fred Flake and Flo Coine; Frank Thompson and Mrs. Matheson, 1910-1915

Ice Skaters

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Ice skating dress

Edwardian London on Film

The definition of ‘rush hour’ in London grows woollier as the years pass: at its worst it seems to stretch demonically from 6am to 9pm.

Journey back over a century to July 1896, though, and this tantalising half-minute of footage reveals our Victorian counterparts making their way to work across the Thames by tram, horse-drawn carriage and, for the health-conscious (or the poor), good old Shanks’ pony. More or less business as usual then, although compared to the daily human onslaught we face in 21st century London, the commuters caught by R.W. Paul’s static camera proceed at an enviably elegant pace. (Simon McCallum)

Made over 100 years ago, this footage shows a number of scenes shot around central London, taking in locations such as Hyde Park Corner, Parliament Square and Charing Cross Station. We see crowds of people disembarking from a pleasure steamer at Victoria Embankment, pedestrians dodging horse-drawn carriages in Pall Mall, and heavy traffic trotting down the Strand.

This fascinating film provides an authentic view of London’s East End from over a hundred years ago. Flat-capped men flow in a Sunday morning tide down Middlesex Street – better known by its unofficial name, Petticoat Lane – just as they have for generations.

This most Cockney of London markets caters to the second clothes trade: at the time when this film was made, the market was dominated by the East End street sellers and the Jewish rag trade. As the camera pans across the market, we see the traders raised above the general level, barking at the crowd. The few women in the picture are stall-holders, selling patched-up trousers and restored boots, while a nearby card sharp tempts the punters.

 

Three Vintage Portraits of Virginia Woolf

Adeline Virginia Woolf (1882 – 1941) was an English writer and one of the foremost modernists of the twentieth century.

During the interwar period, Woolf was a significant figure in London literary society and a central figure in the influential Bloomsbury Group of intellectuals. Her most famous works include the novels Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927) and Orlando (1928), and the book-length essay A Room of One’s Own (1929), with its famous dictum, “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” Woolf suffered from severe bouts of mental illness throughout her life, thought to have been the result of what is now termed bipolar disorder, and committed suicide by drowning in 1941 at the age of 59.

NPG P221; Virginia Woolf (nÈe Stephen) by George Charles Beresford

Virginia Woolf  by George Charles Beresford, 1902 via

NPG P220; Virginia Woolf (nÈe Stephen) by George Charles Beresford

George Charles Beresford, Portrait of Virginia Woolf, 1902 via

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Virginia Woolf, 1920’s via