Saturday, 22 February 2014

The Lads

Australian men in suits and oversized hats is this week's Sepia Saturday prompt here.  I know I have an elusive postcard somewhere of men in hats and suits, but failing to find it I flipped through the Gardner family album and found this:
I hoped there would be a photographers name on the back when I took it out of its pocket but alas no. Were these men brother, cousins or friends?  We will never know but the photographic studio must have had a shortage of chairs as you can see when I crop the photo and the strange carpet out of the frame:-

Leaning, kneeling and the lone sitter. Sheet music and two flutes, one held and one on the table but is the man at the back smoking a pipe or holding a short flute?  I've seen a similar photograph to this before but despite an entertaining search on the internet nothing appeared, they look an amusing trio and if living today might just be getting together to go for a night out on the town. I would guess the photo is from the 1860s but may be later, the bowler hat became more popular as the 19th century progressed. The suit was de rigueur and like hats the Victorian man was never seen without one.  My father, who always wore a three piece suit even in retirement (although it did latterly alter to a sports jacket) recounted his father in law( my grandfather) saying a gentleman should never removed his jacket no matter the temperature.
Charles Henry Gardner (1874-1958)
And here is my grandfather living up to that maxim although in casual knickerbockers and straw hat.  This is the only photograph I have of him as a relatively young man.   I think he liked winged collard shirts as he continued to wear them and they appear in the few photographs I have of him.  The album I took the first photo from was his, it is one of three each separately held today by his grandchildren.  They were always kept by my grandmothers in the bottom of a huge chest of drawers where she used to collect all the family material together, and occasionally get them out and entertain her many grandchildren with a flick through the pages, although the photographs I liked best as a child she kept in a old tin box.

         

13 comments:

La Nightingail said...

My grandmother kept old photos in a tin box too. In the photo of your grandfather in knickers with vest & jacket, it looks like he's holding a straw boater. The first photo is a kick with the 3 guys & their flutes - especially with the one having to kneel. Fun post!

Mike Brubaker said...

The flute trio is a wonderful photo. I've seen a good number of similar "jolly" musician photos of this era. I think they reflect the quirky humor of the subjects rather than the anything devised by the photographer. The flute is made of wood with open hole instead of keys. Not a professional instrument but more suited for songs and dances. There were Irish flute/fife bands that used instruments like this for political parades and rallies.
Your grandfather appears to be wearing puttee leggings for a country walk.

Deb Gould said...

There's something going on here that I'm missing -- the guy on the right is actually pointing down -- perhaps this is an "in joke" photograph! No matter, they are great guys in pipes, hats and suits.

Bob Scotney said...

If it weren't for the boater I would have said Charles Henry was going on a shoot.

Jo Featherston said...

If this photo was in your family album, could it be of some relatives, or perhaps it just came from a show they went to see? A Chinese giant and his wife were amongst an old family album of cartes de visite that I inherited, and I knew they definitely weren't my relatives!

Tattered and Lost said...

That first shot is screaming for a story. These three look like they'd easily toss back a few and have hours of fun.

Can you imagine getting this dressed up to go for a walk? He looks grand and dapper.

Boobook said...

Their pipes look like they have lids on the bowls.

Alan Burnett said...

I suspect that so many of the poses adopted back then were dictated by the need to keep still for such a long time. But the poses of these three do look rather uncomfortable.

Wendy said...

I'm sure there was quite a story to go with that first photo. As for your grandfather, it must have been difficult being a gentleman in the summertime!

Mike Brubaker said...

I'm back to leave a link to a photo story I wrote 4 years ago on an English musician who holds a similar flute. Comparing it to your photo makes me think it is the same kind instrument. Sort of a short flute or long piccolo in the key of F. I updated my story with an audio file and Youtube videos of some of the flute bands.

http://temposenzatempo.blogspot.com/2010/02/english-piccoloist.html

Little Nell said...

Definitely a story to be told with this one. Very unusual.

Postcardy said...

First photo looks like it could be something theatrical.

Anna said...

I can't imagine what it was like to live in such restrictive clothing for men and women, without air conditioning, refrigeration, ice, etc. We complain about going from air-conditioned home to air-conditioned car in shorts and tees!