benicek: (Default)
Anonymous woman and child.


I've been so busy with other things that I'd almost forgotten how, for years, I was totally consumed by old photos from flea markets. I would spend hours online collaborating with other enthusiasts to identify places and sometimes even individuals in them. I became so familiar with the vanished townscapes, fashions and social habits they revealed that I began to feel as if I'd visited the minds of those dead people. I have most of them, still, stuffed into a shoebox. Have a look at the Tumblr I made out of them if you fancy.

This one remains a firm favourite. It is the one photo I will never sell. An unnamed mother and child in the 1890s. There is something profound and hopeful in their smudged expressions. Such a vivid image and, because the glass negatives were so large, great detail is revealed under computerised magnification. For some reason I always loved that hat on the grass most of all.

See enlarged sections here.... )

Loot

19/9/16 13:56
benicek: (Default)
Benin Loot

This weighty (576 page) tome arrived in the post today from Sweden. It's a gift from the author as thanks for use of this photograph I picked up in a flea market for £1 two years ago, which turned out to be a unique record of these treasures in private hands in England before museums acquired them. I'm amazed at the stories that grow out of this 'junk' I find, all made possible by the internet. 
benicek: (sunset)
Fireplace with antique Benin bronze leopards and ivory.

I found this photo, with the stamp of photographer J.Cecil Gould (of Weybridge) on the back, in the flea market in Brighton and, Googling around, found the same pair of Benin bronze leopards in a Royal Academy exhibition two years ago. They are now back in the national museum in Nigera. The altar piece in the centre is in The Fowler Museum in L.A. and the central plaque is in the Musée du quai Branly in Paris. They are Benin artefacts originally looted during the 1897 Benin expedition. This is almost certainly the house of George W. Neville, who lived at Wey Lea, Weybridge (see recent photo below). Photographer J. Cecil Gould was also situated in Weybridge, so that provides a tantalising link. Neville's collection was sold off in 1930 after his death and a specialist at the British Museum believes that the leopards, the two plaques and masks on the fire hood are described in the catalogue of this sale. George Neville accompanied the Benin expedition and later a Captain Shelford wrote about him returning with a remarkable collection of curiosities; ‘They are in his house to this day, and include ivory tusks, carved and plain, two magnificent bronze leopards’. I can see this photo is going to be entertaining me for months....

Thanks to Susan Kloman, Hermione Waterfield, Tim Teuten, David Noden and Bruno Claessens for taking an interest in this.
Read more... )
benicek: (sunset)
Reading in the car. 1900s

I bought some pages of a dismembered family photo album the other day, intending to scan only a few of the pictures for my Tumblr blog, but I think I'm in love with this family now. They look so happy and fun, apart from the stern old lady that keeps appearing. All I've been able to find out about them is that the older girl (seen here with the book) was called Treffie, they were in Guernsey in 1903 and 1906, and they attended a wedding in Middlesex in 1906. See the whole set here.
Read more... )
benicek: (Default)
London photo fair. 26/02/2012

My first visit to the London Photo Fair today. Lots of dealers from all over Europe, especially France and Belgium. Some really impressive stuff on offer but mostly out of my price range. What do people do with large, fragile old photos costing hundreds of pounds, exactly? I suppose if I was a rich man I'd have a room full of them in filing cabinets. I came across a fascinating album of German marines in China in the 1910s. The dealer quoted me "twenty fifty" which quite surprised me and I prepared to hand over the cash. "No, two thousand and fifty" he clarified. He found that very entertaining. I told him I would save up.

Luckily, there were a few cartes de visite in the under-£5 bracket that I was able to afford. I like the floppy child and the woman with the huge bustle especially.....

Read more... )
benicek: (Default)
Rothenburg, Germany. 1930s.

This was an interesting flea market find. It's the marketplace in Rothenburg, Germany. I'd seen it in the bin before but disregarded it as merely some 1950s Bavarian holiday snap. But I hadn't been looking closely enough.

See enlarged details here.... )
benicek: (Default)

A fantastic discovery from a collection of glass negatives of photos taken by a Royal Naval officer, found by a Flickr user in Canada. The white ship covered in awnings is the base ship, HMS Tamar. Letters associated with the collection suggest it was taken in 1905.

benicek: (Default)

Photobucket

A mysterious faded photograph I found in a flea-market in Brighton today. Note the old lady and her maid in the doorway.
Big version here.... )
benicek: (Default)

Photobucket

Found in a flea market in Brighton. I sent this one to a collector in New Zealand who has since researched the background of J.T. Henry and thinks he might be one of the earliest New Zealand-born commercial photographers. He also found a tantalising newspaper article describing Mr Henry's efforts to photograph the wreck of the SS Tararua in 1881 (in which 104 people were drowned) though the photographs themselves seem to have been lost to history.
benicek: (Default)

Photobucket

Another old photo I found in Brighton today. It appears to depict a parade of WW2 auxiliary fire service vehicles and personnel. Maybe this was taken on VE Day.
Cropped detail here.... )
benicek: (Default)

Photobucket

I found this intriguing set of 20 photographs in an antique market in Brighton yesterday (£7). They were mostly taken aboard a ship and feature views of the Clyde, Belfast Lough, and the Isle of Wight. One man, identified as "Will", appears in three of them, as as do some people who I assume are Will's family or servants inside a well-to-do home with a conservatory. My guess is that these photographs depict a business trip of some sort. Maybe Will worked in the ship building industry, of which Belfast and the Clyde were world centres at this time. We can see him standing on the bridge with the officers, in his civilian clothes, as if he had some special status beyond that of a mere passenger. Some of these were badly faded, but I've done the best I can to restore them with Photoshop. Enjoy!
See the rest here..... )
benicek: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] ptitza often brings my attention to photographs from Russian archives featuring unidentified locations. They are great fun to ponder over and we've managed to solve many of them. This set appears to feature the same group of turn-of-the-century tourists at Italian locations. So far we've identified a couple of them as buildings in Pompeii. It is interesting to see Pompeii freshly exposed to the weather and weeds.
benicek: (Default)



Another one I found in an antique market in Brighton. Barely legible pencil scrawled on the back in French. Champagne, jollity and movement.  I wonder what they were celebrating.
benicek: (Default)



Yesterday I found some of my grandfather's old photographs of his holidays visiting pen pals on the continent.
See more of the Dutch trip here...... )
benicek: (Default)
Methwold fruit colony, Norfolk.

Here's a little curio I bought off e-bay from a chap in Malta. The back is stamped with "H. Freund, Fruit Colony, Methwold". According to this website the Methwold fruit colony, in Norfolk, was a utopian 'back to the land' experiment founded in 1889; a fruit-growing co-operative of middle-class urbanites seeking a simpler life. The 'colony' lasted until the first world war but ultimately failed because it couldn't break even. One journal at the time, the Cable, reported enthusiastically that at Methwold:

"...a new order of things has been inaugurated. The land there is being taken possession of not by the country folk, but by clerks and tradesmen from London and other large centres of population....It points to the fact that agriculture is man's natural occupation and that, in many cases, the love of it is inherent"

I assume that this photograph depicts some of the original colonists, inside an unusual double-exposed frame of painted grape vines.
benicek: (Default)
Stafford

Photo found today in an antique market in Brighton (UK). The 16th century 'ancient high house' in Stafford, on the same street as this photographer's studio. It still exists but the nice Victorian shop fronts visible here on the ground floor have now been removed to restore its original medieval appearance. Always a dilema with building restoration; how much do you destroy to make a structure more 'authentic'?

Children

9/12/09 15:07
benicek: (Default)



I was browsing through the carte de visite prints in a bric-a-brac shop in Lewes yesterday and kept finding small children. I thought they'd make a good theme for a single posting here. It is funny to see when these portraits were blurred by the children moving, or their parents gripping them to keep them still. At other times the children appear to have posed perfectly, as still as statues, maybe eager to please or under threat. I wonder if they understood what was going on.
Four more here.... )
benicek: (Default)

Redcliffe Hotel

The 'Mystery Castle' looking slightly less mysterious in this colourised postcard. Post marked 1916. Found on ebay.

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