Was this woman a suf­fragette?

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - QUESTIONS & ANSWERS -

QA­mong my col­lec­tion of uniden­ti­fied fam­ily pho­to­graphs is this pic­ture of a cou­ple, who I be­lieve to be my great grand­fa­ther’s brother and wife.

There are no in­di­ca­tions as to when and where the pho­to­graph was taken. How­ever, I was once told that the lady is wear­ing a suf­fragette pin. Is this cor­rect? Sarah Smith

AThis pho­to­graph is pre­sented on a stan­dard carte de vis­ite- style mount, sug­gest­ing that a pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­pher was hired to visit this open-air lo­ca­tion. The set­ting seems to be a gar­den, with the cen­tral im­age ‘framed’ us­ing the vi­gnette tech­nique, whereby the pe­riph­eral de­tails fade away.

The cou­ple are well-dressed and are mark­ing a spe­cial oc­ca­sion, judg­ing from the lady’s pic­turesque flo­ral posy and the man’s starched winged col­lar and white neck­tie – for­mal neck­wear re­served for im­por­tant events.

It seems likely that they are newly mar­ried, although we can­not be cer­tain be­cause the ring (or rings) usu­ally dis­played by a bride in a wed­ding pho­to­graph are not vis­i­ble here.

The style of the lady’s cos­tume, com­pris­ing a smart tai­lored skirt and white blouse with full sleeves, ac­ces­sorised with a sum­mer straw boater hat, to­gether with her com­pan­ion’s turn-of-the­cen­tury three-piece lounge suit and semi-for­mal bowler, date the im­age to c1895–1902.

This firm time frame should help by con­firm­ing, or dis­prov­ing, your thoughts con­cern­ing iden­tity and oc­ca­sion. Jayne Shrimpton

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