Could this photo show my great great grandfather?
Q I believe that this image, which I think has been ‘touched up’, is of my great great grandfather, John McNeill (1855–1912). He was a master joiner, born in Dunoon, and died in Glasgow. It was produced by Mendelssohn & Co in Melbourne, Victoria, which opened in 1880, and John lived in Melbourne in early 1881. In addition, on the back of the image is the name “McNeill”.
The image was previously owned by John Duncan McNeil, the eldest son of John McNeill. Looking at his clothes, could this photo be from around 1881?
Richard MacNeil, via the WDYTYA? Magazine Forum A This is an enlarged, retouched photograph. Regular studio photographs were usually small prints, but most commercial photographic studios offered enlargements. During the enlarging process, some of the finer detail present in the original could become lost. Therefore it was common for them to be retouched by hand.
This picture does not date to c1881, but a generation later (c1900– 1910). A major clue is the early 20th–century style of presentation, combining a card mount with a wide border around the photograph. The appearance of the subject is also representative of the early 1900s, suggesting it may be John’s son, John Duncan McNeill. Jayne Shrimpton
1 SLICKED- DOWN HAIR
Haircuts provide good dating clues: this youthful style with top hair slicked down on either side of a prominent parting, the sides short, was most fashionable during the 1890s and early 1900s.
2 SMOOTHLY DOES IT
Facial hair offers a useful guide to date and approximate age.
In the 1880s many young men still sported a moustache, but by the early 1900s most favoured a modern, clean-shaven image.
3 UNIFORM STYLE
Male head-and-shoulders photos from the 19th and early 20th century are difficult to pinpoint precisely from dress, since men’s styles are more uniform than female fashions, and change more slowly.
4 TIED UP
Neckwear completed the male outfit – shirt collars of the early 1900s usually turned down and stiffly starched with rounded points, as here, and neckties typically a modern long knotted tie.
5 SUITS YOU
A three-piece lounge/business suit was customary daywear, comprising jacket or morning coat, waistcoat and trousers, the cut slender-moderate, jacket lapels neat and a handkerchief often tucked in the top pocket.