Fashion portraits (dated) 3
Two more carefully dated postcard portrait photographs. The top one is dated July 19th 1915. This may not be the date it was taken, as it has been sent to friends “with regards from Jack and Mary” on that date, but generally such photos were sent off fairly soon after they people had sat for them. The location is somewhere in the North East of England, as the studio, Thirwell & Co, operated in Stockton, Middlesborough, West Hartlepool, Newcastle, Darlington and Bishop Auckland. One gentleman on a Stockton site writes “Thirlwell & Co were THE photographers on Teeside.” The couple do look quite young (though he has the look of someone who works long hours), and done up in their ‘sunday best’ as we used to say. It’s tempting to think from the pose that they might be having a photograph taken to celebrate an engagement (although there are no rings visible). The gentleman has a badge of some sort, it may feature a crown, while the woman has pulled a neck brooch over her top button and also a second brooch through two buttons further down which suggests wanting to show off a present perhaps. The date is a little ominous, one wonders if Jack survived WW1. Call up would begin in six months time, or a year if they were married. There is another slightly earlier portrait by Thirlwell on the site.
The gentleman below is Mr. Laurence Rundle Reed, who has taken the time to write (in cursive) the details on the back in pencil. This tells us the postcard portrait was taken on Wednesday July 1st 1925, and also that he was twenty five and a half. He has then added a second date of Nov. 15th 1925. which is perhaps when he mailed the photo to someone.
He was living at 5 Stockton Road, in Chorlton, Manchester (which I know fairly well when I lived on Upper Chorlton Road as a student!).
Laurence had his photograph taken a a branch of Gales Studios Ltd, who had studios all over the country having started around 1916. I assume this was one of their Manchester ones, they had two at that time, at 54 Market Street, and another at 45 to 49 Oxford Road. The painted backdrop, which seems to be on a moveable wooden board, is very typical. Gales offered such portraits at affordable prices for people who were on a budget, and Laurence while he looks smart seems to fit that market. His tough shoes have seen a fair amount of wear, his button down collar is tidy but no more, and his hands look like he worked hard. I do like the jacket though, plenty of big pockets and nice strong material. Laurence is just too young to have been called up for WW1 but did live through it on the home front.
The postcard photograph below is a really nice hand tinted studio portrait. It has been very carefully done by the studio workers, and the knitted scarf picked out. The studio is Swift, who advertise themselves on the back working in three locations at the time; Plymouth, Exeter and someway removed up in Preston. I have seen a few portraits by them recently, all postcard size. This one is date stamped 19 Nov. 1934 on the back, which certainly fits nicely with the hat. Some studios used these back stamps to help file the negatives, that they help us 80 years later is a coincidence. I have no further details on the photographers.