Thursday, 15 May 2008

A century away

A sunny back garden in Stroud, Gloucestershire, in the spring or early summer of 1908.

Well, that's how my late mother dated the reverse of the photograph.

My guess is that she's correct. A year earlier and I doubt my grandmother (on left) would have been in the picture. A year later and my mother, born August 1908, would surely have been included in the family group.

I'm wondering if Daisy's leaning-forward posture and the presence of the big cat on her lap indicate a modest wish to conceal her bump.

Her twenty-one-year-old husband Harry stands just behind her.

My great-uncle Fred is on right, with his father Herbert Henry Rowe in the middle. My great-grandmother sits on the right. I've no idea as to the identity of the other adult and the little girl.

I am intrigued by the abandoned book on left.

The image zings across the years, fresh and poignant in that clear Edwardian sunshine, the twentieth century still relatively untarnished.

Nancy Mitford's famous comment comes to mind: 'I often think there is nothing quite so poignantly sad as old family groups.'

1 comment:

barrie k said...

Are you sure that is a cat on our Grandmother's lap? It looks remarkably like an Elephant seal pup to me. Maybe the original image has lost some of its pixels on the way over the Atlantic. Either that or I'm losing my rods and cones!
Have you noticed how some photos capture a timeless quality of the human spirit. This is one of those.