Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Friday, 6 May 2011

A Fine Looking Gentleman

This is my contribution to this week's Sepia Saturday. There were several themes this week and when I found this portrait of a fine, good-looking gentleman with a neatly trimmed beard, I knew I had to go with the Beard theme.

Obviously I didn't know him personally as I believe this portrait was made around 1900 - possibly a little earlier-, but I do know a bit about him. The photograph came to me in a very small batch when a lady companion of my maiden great aunt died. She had no family, being a 'maiden' herself and quite old, so my mother, to whom she had been as well-known as her own aunt, made the funeral arrangements, with my father's help. All that is left of Mary are this little batch of pictures. This was her father, with whom she lived after her mother's relatively early death at the age of 47. With the photographs was her mother's black-edged memorial card. She was also called Mary and, according to the card, she died after 'intense suffering' in 1912. It is difficult to say how old 'Mr Carter' was when this portrait was taken, but going on the other evidence, and the fact that there is a picture of the younger Mary taken standing on the same piece of furniture, he may be around forty or so. We can only imagine the sorrow he had to bear, watching his own beloved Mary, suffer so much, and then bringing up the young Mary on his own. He looks a lovely chap, and what I remember of Miss Carter, coupled with my Mother's memories of her, he did a fine job. What a pity we know so little about him; I think I'd have liked him.

I am now able to update this post with some more information about ‘Mr Carter’. Following my own father’s death in 2012 we found Mary’s personal documents which had been given to my parents on her death as she had no living relatives. Mary’s original birth certificate was there and I now know that she was Mary Alice Carter born 23rd February 1899, registered in Hampstead, London. Her parents’ marriage certificate was also there. The fine looking gentleman was Robert Henry Carter aged 32 at the time of the wedding on 20th December 1896. Mary’s mother, Mary Elizabeth Norton was 31, so young Mary was only thirteen years of age when she lost her mother. If this picture was taken at the same time as the one I have of young Mary In Her Sunday Best, I would say that Robert Henry is about 38 years old in the above photograph. A man in the prime of his life.

18 comments:

  1. That beard i just starting to turn grey. When you enlarge this photo it looks to ne as if a seam has split across from the bottom button, it doesn't lok like a pocket to me. He hasn't a hair out of place as well as the trim beard.

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  2. No, I like to think it's a pocket; I can't see any raggedy ends and it's far too neat. He doesn't looks like the sort of man who would have a tear in his coat, especially when posing for a portrait.

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  3. I hope he and Mary had some happy times despite the sadness they endured. I agree, he does look like a man worth knowing.

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  4. You do him honor by sharing his photo and his story.

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  5. What a sad story. He's such a nice looking man. Let's hope he remarried later and had a great life.
    Nancy
    http://ladiesofthegrove.blogspot.com/

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  6. I agree with Larry - by posting this you have done him a great honor and preserved his memory.

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  7. I think he lived with his daughter until his death and then she lived with her friend until hers. hope it was all jollier than it sounds.

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  8. Very nice photo and story. I saw the coat pocket too, and thought it might be a watch pocket or a slot to fish out the watch from the vest. It has the look of a frock coat that might be fashionable with certain occupations.

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  9. I bet that he would be so honored that you remembered him in this manner. What a wonderful post. I think that I would have liked him too!

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  10. He looks to be a man of great character, from what you have said about him. He endured a lot for the love of his family.

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  11. Clearly a real gentleman. I'll go with the pocket theory. This man is too decent and smart to have a faulty overcoat. And no-one has mentioned how stylish the coat is. I want one!

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  12. He is indeed a fine looking gentleman. When I enlarged the photo the jacket, shirt and tie are immaculately all in place. Glad you knew who he was to write about him.
    QMM

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  13. Thank you for introducing Mr Carter to usgood photo. By the tale you wrote, he was obviously a man of substantial strength and character. It is nice to have a peek at someone about whom little is known. This leaves us to imagine all the rest.

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  14. There is something delightful, isn't there, about how these old photographs come down to us - the way they percolate through time and then come to the surface to be seen by the entire world. What would their subjects have made of the thought.

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  15. It IS delightful Alan, but equally sad that so many are lost. Have you seen http://ageofuncertainty.blogspot.com? Steerforth is a bookseller in Lewes who often features old Victorian and Edwardian albums which have been discarded. Some wonderful pictures.

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  16. Everyone seems to have the same urge to know more about Mr. Carter and his life.

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  17. He is a fine looking gentleman - just like your title. Has a bit of a pompadore inis neatly combed hair. I agree with Bob about the pocket. Nice of you to share him with us.

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  18. looking quite distinguished here. great pic!!
    :)~
    HUGZ

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