You’ll remember only just over a week ago I wrote a Blog about the Brassey Family, Lords & Lady’s. Just a few days ago I received a lovely email from Sarah living in Sussex, she wrote this to me:
“I’m a PhD student based between the University of Sussex and Hastings Museum, where I am researching the collections of Annie Brassey. I have a background in photographic archives and am working to link Brassey’s photographic pursuits with her collection of ethnographic objects ….etc
I ask because it looks possible that this is an amateur photograph, taken during Annie Brassey’s final voyage – particularly because of the sailing dresses and that fabulously branded ‘Sunbeam’ hat!
I was hoping it may match the size of other prints in Annie Brassey’s albums. Brassey was a keen photographer herself and a member of the Royal Photographic Society. The Sunbeam was even fitted with a darkroom. Although the background doesn’t look like the image was taken on deck, it does seem to be a rather unconventional studio setting.”
These are the two photos above that I shared in the Blog.
In our chats Sarah has shared more information, “It may have been a present for Annie, they were all on that final voyage so it could have been taken anytime prior or during. Annie was very ill throughout the trip (in fact she’d been seeming to make a recovery before then contracting a final fatal illness), so yes, they may have been trying to cheer her up! I’ve certainly not seen any mounted amateur prints taken by Brassey or crew, just pasted in albums, and as you say we will probably never know!”
So I offered the photos to Sarah, knowing they would be seen by people and also be going to a very good home.
“I would be absolutely delighted and no doubt will be use them a lot in many presentations and written work – I’ve only just started the project so there’s lots more to come! They will indeed be well look after! This is really wonderful, thank you“.
But this is not the end of the story, as you know if you have seen my first Brassey Blog that I found the two photos in Devon at Matford Antique Fair. This past weekend we went to Shepton Mallett Antique Fair at the Bath & West Showground, and while wandering around & rummaging in boxes, as I do, I saw this first cabinet card below.
And although it didn’t have anything written on the back, I just knew that it was the Brassey children, the two eldest Mabel born in 1865 and Thomas born in 1863. They are unmistakable! So then just in case I recognised any more, I went through both of the boxes that the seller had checking every single photo carefully, front and back, this cabinet card below I found in the second box, and although the back is blank if you tilt it slightly you can see that someone has written ‘Lady Brassey’ on the back!
I definitely did a happy dance, not in front of the seller of course!!
So I quickly emailed Sarah last night to let her know that she would now have four photos of the Brassey Family being posted today!
Sarah said “That’s brilliant! No I haven’t seen them before but I recognise the St Leonards photographer from one. Very strange that the other one is cut out! ………Really look forward to seeing them in real life!“.
Till next time then……….