Can you help me to date these sketches of my ancestors Benjamin and Lucy Dening?
QBenjamin Dening was born in around 1809 in Chardstock, Dorset, and died in December 1888 in Robe, South Australia. Lucy Anne Dening (née Davy) was born in September 1816 in Broadwinsor, Dorset, and died around 1908 in Kingston SE, South Australia. They married in Lyme Regis, Dorset, in 1838. They left England in 1849, bound for Australia with six children, and to my knowledge disembarked in South Australia. Can you help me date these sketches of them? Glennis McDonald, by email
AenoughAThese are very interesting companion sketches. There are details visible on Lucy Anne’s dress to indicate a date of around 1836-8. As the couple married in 1838, I would suggest that the portraits might be connected to this event, the betrothal perhaps if not the actual marriage. This date was before the era of the white wedding dress being commonly worn so it can be difficult to be absolutely certain.
However, I would say that Lucy Anne’s elaborate bonnet and lace-like pelerine (the cape-like collar) certainly suggest a dress for a special occasion.
Benjamin’s outfit, although more difficult to pinpoint specifically, also fits with the date. The high collar of the coat and the mid-length hair was typical of the decade. Alison Toplis