Friday, October 19, 2018

Friday Video: Victorian Photographs in Color

Friday, October 19, 2018
Loretta reports:

When it comes to 19th and early 20th century fashion, as our readers are aware, it’s not all that easy to get a sense of what clothes looked like on real people. Fashion plates offer a simplistic idea of color but tend to be anatomically inaccurate (if not downright bizarre) and flat. Paintings show us color, texture, accessories, and so on, but they tend to be idealized, a sort of Photoshop version of the real person. Photography, once it gets going in the Victorian era, offers a degree of realism (they did doctor photos), but in black and white. Museums show us the actual clothing, but on mannequins often lacking accessories (and very often, underwear).

This video, featuring colorized Victorian and Edwardian photos, helps us get a real sense of real women in a range of clothing. Some of you will recognize at least a few of the women.

40 Amazing Colorized Photos of Victorian and Edwardian Women
Published by Yesterday Today

Image is a still from the video.

Readers who receive our blog via email might see a rectangle, square, or nothing where the video ought to be. To watch the video, please click on the title to this post (which will take you to our blog) or the video title (which will take you to YouTube).


Suztats said...


Julie said...

Colorization usually creeps me out because they always seem to miss something (like the mouth, for example), but these are gorgeous. I still, however, have to wonder how much guesswork is involved and how much of these pictures is real.

Annette N said...

These are beautiful - and I thank you. I wonder why it is that every woman is pretty? Maybe they only colored the pictures of pretty women? Each picture is exquisite and delicate and lovely. Thank you.

Lori said...

These are beautiful, some of the women appear to have eye shadow on? Was this added by the artist or was it really worn for the photo?

Loretta Chase said...

Lori, others have asked about makeup. You might want to look at this YouTube video
Makeup in the Edwardian Era- A Documentary
Though the narrator sounds young, she's done actual research. I do think the colorizers might have taken some artistic liberties, though, with a couple of the photos. Of course, the type of lighting would make eyes appear shadowed. I know they had ways of darkening around the eyes with various products, including kohl, which has been around for thousands of years. What I have my doubts about—but will research further—is colored eye shadow.

Wendy said...

So can almost see them breathe-- if they actually could with that ultra-tight corsetting! Especially moving were the four or five very, very old photos from the late 1840s and the '50s. Those gave me real insight into how good people could look in the fashions of those times, which more than any other era don't translate well to modern eyes through black-and-white photos. The only individuals I recognized in the show were the last Empress of Russia and in a separate photo, two of her daughters. I also thought I might have spotted Consuelo Vanderbilt....

Two Nerdy History Girls. Design by Pocket