Well if you look back to my previous post about Edwardian glass photo negatives, you’ll see I was rather weak and succumbed to buying two I discovered during a research trawl of the internet. I said I would wait until I had them in my sticky paws, then post the pictures here of the negatives and of the results I got when I applied the ‘negative’ setting on Paint Shop Pro – and here they are. The ‘positives’. Hence the name of this blog post!
I think the glass plates show that this is more than likely a set of family portraits – the older, dark haired man and dark haired woman are, to my mind, the parents of the younger two. I’m guessing that the fair haired boy and girl are the teenaged children, and have been forced, as so many siblings are nowadays, to pose nicely for the camera. I think the boy looks a little more amused than the girl at the prospect – but isn’t it refreshing to see vintage photographs of people smiling?
I was particularly interested in handling the negatives and will admit to putting off opening the package; after all, these things are over 100 years old, had travelled from the USA to me in the UK and imagine if I smashed them?! But open the package I did and suddenly I had this little slice of Edwardian life in my house. It made it all the more exciting, because I’ve just finished writing a novel about photography, and at one point someone sees some glass negatives of a girl posing on a rock by the seaside in 1905.
Here are the gentleman’s thoughts on the matter, in case you’re interested – but I must say the final two lines of this excerpt have to be credited to Dante Gabriel Rossetti from his poem Sea Spell, which just happens to be the title of the novel. I leave ‘proper poetry’ to the experts. I’m a writer, but I’m certainly no poet!
“HIs last thought was not of Elizabeth; neither was it of Harriet and nor was if of Sea Scarr Hall.
Bizarrely, it was the negative, black and white image of Lorelei sitting on a rock in the cove, wearing that God-forsaken dress and laughing at him as he held the shot gun up and blew apart the glass plates she was etched upon.
Her hair had looked blonde and the dress had looked black and she was perched on a giant white thing as black-tipped waves washed up onto the grey beach.
She truly did look like the Angel of Death: a Siren upon a rock, luring the next man who thought he loved her to his demise —
Till he, the fated mariner, hears her cry, And up her rock, bare breasted, comes to die …”