We have a stairway the walls of which we are reserving for photographs of those we call the ancestors. A start was made with the Norwood School for the Sons of Gentlemen featured in ‘One For Rebekah’.
Beside that print hangs a wedding photograph from Jackie’s family. From the clothes worn by the group of family and friends, we estimate the event to have been pictured in the 1920s. Today I spent some time on my iMac refreshing this image that is almost a century old. Instead of a wander around the English countryside, today’s journey guides you through the process of producing as near a pristine photo as is possible for me. I’m sure my professional friend, Alex Schneideman, would make a better job of it.
Almost the longest stage was removing the 8″ x 6″ print from what must be the original very sturdy frame. Small nails had been driven through the hard wood surround into a backing plank thick enough to take them. Clearly this had protected the photograph, but it proved impregnable to my delicate efforts. It being Jackie’s heirloom, she was less nervous about using ‘brute force’, and prised the nails out with a small screwdriver.
My original scan shows the customary sepia coloured print that has come down to us. This would once, before the passage of time, have been a crisp black and white.
I then adjusted my Epson Perfection V750 PRO scanner setting to convert the colour to black and white.
The next step was to brighten up the image in iPhoto.
Then I cropped out the mount.
Clicking on this last image to enlarge it will expose lots of little white or back blemishes. These are not relevant in the normal sized reproductions I have used in WordPress. Anyone wishing to examine this slice of social history in more detail, or to enlarge the print, would prefer the retouching that I then carried out. The iPhoto facility for this involves, with the use of a mouse, placing a circular motif which can be adjusted according to the size of the area to be treated, and clicking on or dragging it. You need a keen eye and a steady hand. And rather more time than I was prepared to give it, as will be seen by following the suggestion below, thus revealing that my work was not perfect.
Comparing this final image, similarly enlarged, with the last one will show the final result which I then made into a 10″ x 8″ print. When framed, this will not replace the original, which is a treasure in its antiquity. The two will be hung one above the other.
The bride is Jackie’s paternal great aunt Renee Dove, who was marrying Canon Percy Green of Keystone in Staffordshire (See PSs below). Interestingly, it is the groom’s mother, Jackie’s great grandmother, who holds centre stage. She favours a dress length of her generation, rather than that of the younger women around her, who are not afraid to display their ankles. One of these, second from the right on the front row, is Jackie’s grandmother Vera Rivett, nee Dove. Is she wearing spats? Her outfit is certainly most splendid.
Would today’s bride wear gloves? Or would she, like her mother and the woman on the far left, hold them in her naked hands? Are feather boas the precursors of today’s fascinators? Neither, after all, is a hat, like the wide brimmed ones sported by these ladies.
I do like the gentlemen’s three piece suits, and, had my brother Chris not left me one that sits, in its box that Frances made, on the window sill beside my chair, I would envy the fob watches.
It would certainly be unlikely in 2015 for a fag to be carried into the formal photograph grouping. Hopefully, the smoker in the back row (identified in Adrian’s comment below) flicked his ash out of harm’s way. There are no white spots on the shoulder of the gentleman in front of him.
The great granddaughter of Mrs Dove senior cooked a splendid liver casserole for our dinner tonight. New boiled potatoes, and crisp carrots and cauliflower accompanied this. Dessert was apple crumble and custard. I drank Chateau Saint Pierre Lussac Saint-Emilion 2012, while Jackie chose sparkling water.
P.S. Becky’s Facebook link comment dates the picture with a little more precision:
I would say around 1919. The hats and skirts are still a bit WW1.
Rebekah Knight Fashion drawing from 1919P.P.S: Helen added this: ‘Not in Staffordshire, but Jackie and I have been trying to get that information straight. Lovely and interesting picture. The young lady in the front row next to the man with the child has a familiar look. Wonder who she is.’Jackie has noticed that the gentleman next to her grandmother also clutches a cigarette. (Adrian’s post highlighted below establishes that this smoker is Great Great Grandfather Albert Edward Dove). Vera is wearing a wedding ring which suggests either that grandfather Albert Rivett was still involved in World War I (he was at the Battle of The Somme in November 1916), or that he did not attend for some other reason.Later, Becky would seem to have cracked the condundrum: ‘Had a little mooch on Find My Past and have found a Percival L Green who was married in 1921 in Grantham and an Irene Dove who was married in the same year in Grantham.’She continues with this quotation from Adrian Barlow: “…by 1895 they [the senior Doves] had moved, south this time, to Denton in Lincolnshire, their home for the rest of their teaching lives. And what a home! They lived in the school house, a large and elegant early Georgian building. Here their children – Albert, Vincent, Irene and Vera – grew up. Albert joined the Navy, while Vincent and Vera became teachers. A local clergyman, the Rev. Percival Green, proposed to Vera, who turned him down, so (rather like Mr Collins in Pride and Prejudice) he proposed to Irene instead. She accepted, and they were married in St. Andrew’s Church.” (Albert, in Victorian times, was a name popular enough for Vera to have one as a father, one as a brother and to marry another)‘You should see the picture that goes with this piece!’, says BeckyHere it isJackie has now done the Google walk on Denton, just outside Grantham, and has established without a shadow of doubt that her ancestral wedding took place at St. Andrew’s Church, and that the photographer produced the photograph in the garden of the school house, now called Ley’s House, across the road. Those parts of the church that are visible in the old shot are identical to those in the modern one above. The stone wall that can be seen through the gap in the hedge surrounds the church. The twin-trunked tree still towers from the lawn today.Adrian Barlow’s blog of 21st January 2012 gives further amazing detail.This post now holds the postscript record.