It is our good fortune at Midisparks Art sales to represent on an exclusive basis Carney’s Photo Colouring of Perth, Australia. Carney’s is currently featuring on the site eight colorized photographs from the late Victorian and early Edwardian periods, all with audio. There are plans to present at least 10 more with audio on the site. Prints of these and over 60 additional images are available through the Midisparks Art Shop. (View the Collection at the Art Shop)
Mike Sadler, the Carney’s proprietor, is also an active Midisparks staff composer. His music can be heard with many projects on the site, including his own Victorian era photo features. His wife is primarily responsible for the stunning colorizations of vintage photos which we are honored to present.
I must confess to some bittersweet mixture of emotions and memories as I embark on this introduction to the Carney’s collection. As some loyal readers may recall, I came of age in this era of narrow waists and wide hems. Although my family could not afford a nanny, my relationship with Mother was characterized by the distance and formality so characteristic of parent-child relationships amongst the upper crust of the day. Fortunately, Dad’s warmth and accessibility made the relationship with Mother tolerable.
Nevertheless, everyone, Dad included, followed Mother’s rules. These included rules of dress. Although I was spared mother’s corset, I nevertheless endured stays and bodice. There was a message and an admonition of social restraint in these sculpting undergarments. It was a message from which I rebelled in high school. The result of that rebellion was a certain date with a certain forbidden boy who was only seen at night. Hence I report to you here, 130 years later, craving blood.
But putting aside Mother and tight undergarments and bloodlust for the moment, I must confess that I absolutely adored the dresses and hats of the day! “Lady in Red Dress and Plumed Hat” (view the project) is a wonderful example of post-Victorian fashion. While the hemline is still flowing and expansive, it has narrowed considerably from the Victorian style. Bare arms and neck attest to a softening of modesty standards. And of course the plumed hat really has come of age in this era. The hat here appears to be adorned with peacock feathers.
An earlier photo, more in the Victorian mold, is “Little Girl in Blue Dress.” (view the project) Really, I suspect this is a little boy. It was very common for the boys to be dressed as girls at this age. Notice that the hemline permits an ankle view. As the Victorian girl matures, the hemline descends from calf, to ankle, to floor. I love the white-fringed collar, neckline, and sleeve cuffs. The collar speaks to the popularity of winged shoulders in the fashionable dresses of the day.
The two featured images of children, “Little Girl in Blue Dress” and “Baby in White” suggest a little bit the stiffness and reserve which was imposed on children. As you browse through the thumbnails, you will see how that formality and stiffness translates and deepens in the images of older children.
If the wonderful dresses comprise the sweet of my bittersweet recollections, it is the sadness and reserve in children’s faces which evokes the bitter.
We would be remiss not to mention our special discount available to art fans buying their first art photo print off of the site. Sign up for our free monthly bulletin and receive a discount code worth 15% off any print in the Midisparks Art Shop!