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Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Portraits on Life - Sepia Saturday

A studio photograph of a young lady and an image of her many years later as an artist  is the double photograph  of this week's Sepia Saturday prompt.        


A studio portrait of three sisters Amy, Edna and Lavinia  Dodds of Todmorden, West Yorkshire In the 1911 census Amy was aged 15 (a cotton weaver), Edna 12 (a fustian sewer)  and Lavinia  aged 9. 

The above photograph is  just one out of the fifty I inherited   from my great aunt,  Jenny Danson (left).    Jennie (1897-1986) was the only daughter and last child of James Danson and Maria Rawcliffe of Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire,  born after eight surviving brothers. 

The photographs were taken at local studios at a guess  around 1917-1921Props were popular with the sitter perched on "rocks" or pedestals, or sitting in ornate chairs against muted  landscape backcloths.     Many of Jenny's photographs  featured young children (friends' offspring?) and  family groups with young men in uniform, looking apprehensive at the prospect of going to war.      Very fortunately Jenny had written   on the back in pencil her friends' names and I have tried to find more information on the names,  but with mixed success. 

Friendship Photographs

These two photographs of Annie Jolly are typical of the studio style at the time.
There were strong  concoctions  between the Jolly and Danson families. In the 1901 census, Annie  could well be the two  year old Charlotte Annie Jolly, living at Queen's Square, Poulton, daughter of Edward and Jane Jolly. Edward was a joiner, like Jenny's father. Also in the household was Jane's sister Sarah Haydon Lounds, a domestic servant, who married Jenny's  eldest   brother, John Danson.   By the 1911 census Annie Jolly was aged 12, living at Longfield Avenue, Poulton with her uncle Richard Jolly, and his wife Isabella. Jenny's brother William (my grandfather) lived on the same road with his wife and young family. 

Nellie Jolly  - I like this charming photograph, but I cannot  trace anything about Nellie.  I looked under Helen, Ellen etc. but only found an Ellen Jolly born in Poulton, but in 1853. 

Amy Dodd  - the eldest of the three sisters in the first photograph above and a friend of Jenny's youngest brother George, who worked on theW.H. Smith station bookstall at Todmorden and was killed on the Somme in 1916.  

Portraits of Confirmation  

Dorothy Chisholm was confirmed in St. Chad's Parish  Church, Poulton-le-Fylde.  She  was engaged to Jennie's widowed eldest brother, John, but he was killed in 1917 whilst in  army  training.    Dorothy never married, but the Danson family maintained contact with her throughout her life.  
 My husband;s great aunt Violet Hibbert, in a photograph
 taken at  Frank & Hamilton, Ocean Road, South Shields, County Durham. 
My husband's mother Ivy White, c.1923, again taken in south Shields.

And pets joined in studio  photographs too! 

My husband's grandmother Alice White, nee Armitage, 
with her granddaughter Maureen, plus the family pet.  

 My husband's aunt.  Patti White, with Beauty, 

Reflecting this week's prompt other theme  - Portraits Across the Years 


My grandmother Mary Barbara Matthews (1876-1958),  was the third child of John and Matilda Matthews of Wolverhampton in the English Midlands.   John was a  prominent member of the local Methodist church, conducting the choir.

My Nana -  Mary Barbara Weston, nee Matthews, later in life.

My mother, Kathleen Weston, nee Danson (1908-1989) of Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire.  She was apprenticed to a tailor at the age of 14 and was still busy sewing in her 80's.  

Mum still looking elegant in her 80's


  Sepia Saturday gives an opportunity for genealogy bloggers 
       to share their family history through photographs

 Click HERE to read how other bloggers have interpreted this week's prompt below


  1. Lovely portraits. I particularly like the ladies with their dogs. Your mother aged very well and looked great in her 80's. Is the "younger" photo of her

  2. Thank you for your comment, Helen - yes, the first photograph of my mother was tinted. I was spoilt for choice on which one to choose of her in her 20's, but opted for this one over the black and white.

  3. What a wealth of wonderful photographs, and you are so lucky to have so many! That is a particularly lovely photograph of Amy Dodd sitting at a table, looking at another photograph.

  4. I enjoyed these photos of your family very much. What a great collection!

  5. You are lucky she wrote names! That would be such a help.

  6. A very interesting group of photos. I don't remember seeing photos that old with pets in them. Was that common?

    1. Thank you for your comment- I have no idea how popular it was to feature pets in studio photographs - these are the only two in my collection and I cannot remember seeing any in Sepia Saturday posts. But pets are very much part of the family for many people, so I can see why they are included

  7. A wonderul collection of photos across the years. I too like the one of the sitter looking at another photo. Young Maureeen looks apprehensive, I wonder if it was the Alsation at her feet.

  8. My favorites? The last two -- your young mother, your older mother, one right after the other. Still gracious, still with a necklace, still in green. Love it.

  9. A lovely medley, especially your mother's photos. I like seeing the evolution of fashion styles. I did not expect that confirmation dresses could be dark colors.

  10. I love when people took portraits with their pets. You know those dogs were probably very excited for the occasion. Imagine keeping them still.


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