Victorian Death (and Afterlife) Photography

The Victorians preoccupation with death and their enthusiasm for the paranormal puzzle us today. Perhaps earlier eras were focused on survival and had little leisure to be widely interested in things like séances, ectoplasms, and spirit photography. Later generations were certainly too skeptical. But at the turn of the century, everything seemed possible. If people could ride…

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An Appeal Denied

Edith Nesbit was an unconventional woman, a late Victorian writer, a socialist, a sometime-poet. In 1880, at the height of Victorianism in England, Nesbit married Hubert Bland when she was 7 months pregnant. Their stormy marriage lasted 35 years until his death in 1914, and was punctuated with painful betrayals. Bland was described by his…

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Serendipity in Sepia

Victorians rarely smiled in pictures, so they look stiff and starched to modern eyes. The staid images staring out at us seem like they never laughed or wasted time or thought about anything interesting. When photography was young, getting your picture made was a major event that required that required Solemnity and Poise. Subjects had to sit absolutely…

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