In the late 19th century, a kind of religious movement called spiritism became popular and had quite the following among Europeans and Americans. The founder and leader of Spiritism was the French writer, Allan Kardec. Victorians became quite obsessed with death and connecting with those who had passed on.
One of the offshoots of this interest in spiritism was spirit or ghost photography, where Victorian stereoscopic photographers would use double exposure and other tricks to capture photos of people’s deceased loved ones. In this photo, we see a young girl kneeling to pray as “a ghost” is standing over her. People used to pay for this. The London Stereoscopic Company made quite a killing – pun certainly intended – with it.
It’s not all that surprising to discover that the Victorians engaged in quite a bit of archery. After all, the English were always known to be superb bowmen. The English longbowmen were an almost unbeatable class of archers during the medieval period. This photo was taken sometime during the Victorian age.
It shows a young woman ready to take a shot at the archery target. Though Victorian women wore hats whenever they left the house, here we see the archer without her hat. Of course, it’s likely that when doing archery, women were exempt from having to wear a hat – unless you’re a spectator. As we see here, the woman who’s watching from the bench is wearing the always-present Victorian hat.
A Lady, A Letter and A Friend
No matter which period, this type of scene strangely looks like one we’d expect to see among young women. Nowadays, the two young women would be looking intently at an exchange on a smartphone, but in the Victorian age, it was a letter. The reactions are the same. The one on the left is clearly enraptured by the contents of the letter while the other is observing her friend’s reaction.
While this kind of situation is familiar no matter the period, what is considerably different is the young women’s wardrobe and the décor of the young woman’s bedroom. This is clearly the bedroom of an upper-class individual. Like the material of women’s dresses, the curtains are thick and heavy and have a very striking and bold pattern.
Krao the Thai Child
It is no secret that the Victorians were avid explorers. They also were rather keen on freakshows. And on many occasions, these two obsessions coincided. One of the major reasons for this was thanks to a man called Charles Darwin. In 1859, Darwin published his book “On the Origin of Species” and to say that it was a hit would be an understatement.
It completely revolutionized the world. And it spurred many great voyages for Victorians to discover as much as they could about evolution and find the “missing link” in the chain of human evolution. This would often result in their “discoveries” being used in exhibitions or “freakshows.” This photo taken in 1885 shows a hairy Thai child that was inaccurately assumed to be the “missing link.”
Four Generations & A Christening
It is well-known that the royals are christened typically a month after their birth. From this photo, we see that this tradition occurred even during Victorian times. This photo was taken on July 16, 1894, at the White Lodge in Richmond Park, London roughly three weeks after Edward VIII’s birth. As the oldest son of the oldest son of Queen Victoria’s oldest son, Edward VIII was in line to inherit the throne from his father, George V.
What is interesting about this photo is that we have the current ruler of the throne, Queen Victoria, seated and baptizing Edward VIII, and on the Queen’s left, Edward VII, first in line for the throne, and on the Queen’s right, George V, second in line, and finally, baby Edward, fourth in line.