If anyone knows anything about the Victorians, it was that they were super conservative and intimacy was a big no-no. Except, apparently, in photos. This photo, taken sometime between the 1870s and 1880s, paints a very different picture of the ultra-conservative Victorians. Here we see two young men posing for a photo.
Both are dressed up for the occasion. The two men are in suits and ties, topped off with overcoats. One is sitting down in a chair while the other is standing behind him and embracing him. It’s an intimate shot – and one that will surprise many of us contemporary viewers. Victorian men may have been more affectionate than we thought. At least, that’s what the photos tell us.
The Lady with the Lawnmower
This photo was taken at the turn of the century, and it features the actress, Marie Studholme, who had one foot in the Victorian era and the other in the Edwardian era. Here we see the actress with two feet in a garden while she is posing with a lawnmower. There are two things that make it obvious that this was taken during Victorian times.
First, Studholme is a full-length white gown and hat with an elaborate design. Second, she’s posing with a lawnmower as if she’s about to mow the lawn. In her elegant gown and hat, it’s absurd. And it's not like that vintage lawnmower will offer much help. Lawnmowing back in the Victorian Days looked plenty difficult – but it was certainly fashionable.
A British Soldier in Pakistan
From 1876 to 1946, the kings and queens of England were also called the emperors or empresses of India. Naturally, this included Queen Victoria. It’s only expected that there would be some relics of the British during their time in the Indian subcontinent. Taken in 1880, we have a photo of a British soldier with his dogs in what is now Karachi in modern-day Pakistan.
The soldier’s uniform is made up of a two-piece button-up jacket with pants and a matching material hat. Interestingly, this relic of the British exploration/colonization in the Indian subcontinent was taken with a vintage image projector called Magic Lantern. Plenty of early films and photos were taken with this invention.
Men Holding Hands
As surprising as it can be, Victorian men could display their intimacy and affection for one another in front of the camera lens. Here we have a photo taken during the 1880s that shows two men holding hands. In fact, these two Victorian men took handholding very seriously, as both hands are holding a hand.
Compared to these two men, we could really have a lesson on handholding because they do it on another level completely. The two men are also posed with cigars in their mouths (customary for the time), hats (even more customary for the time), and crossed legs. It is a very touching, but surprising photo for the Victorians.
A Soccer Player from Back in the Day
Did you know that association football – league soccer – goes back to Victorian times? That’s right. Some mega-famous soccer clubs like Manchester United F.C. and Liverpool F.C. formed at the tail end of the 19th century. The photo here is of a soccer player during the Victorian period. The uniform of this soccer player in 1896 bears some resemblance to current uniforms.
His long socks are the same color as his shirt, while his shorts are a contrasting color. He also is wearing soccer boots, although we imagine that no one could play soccer comfortably in this pair. The soccer ball itself has seen the most change. It is a much smaller, heavier, and darker ball than the one we currently play with.