Dating photographs hats


Changes in men's fashions have generally been more subtle, and less sensational than women's, and photographs of even the most well-to-do gentlemen are therefore far more difficult to date accurately by dress alone.In contrast, by the end of the 19th century women's fashions tended to bring in a new detail each season, so the most fashionable ladies' photographs can often be dated to within a year.I’ll start off the list with something I learned while following the advice of a Flickr friend.Use this guide if you are looking for photographs at The National Archives.You have used such a variety of methods in dating the featured photos that we thought you’d like to share them in one place and help out those who are new to the ‘craft’.For instance, do you date photos from: the clothing people are wearing; the cars you see; the progress of building construction; the appearance of telegraph poles; an historic event…or something unusual?

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Knowledge of the history of photography in terms of various processes and their dates of introduction, styles of image produced such as the carte-de-visite, and the size of images most popular at different times, can also be brought to bear.Looking at fashion plates and paintings, and original Victorian clothing, as well as observing the dress detail in Victorian novels and diaries, is essential background reference for the dress historian when seeking accurate dating for photographic portraits.Knowledge of tailoring and dressmaking, jewellery styles, trimmings such as furs and feathers, and accessories such as handbags, belts and hats, and of fabrics available and popular at different times, all contribute to making an accurate assessment of date.Many images in our collection have come to us with only the barest of details attached.

Your knowledge, interest and enjoyment in identifying dates and locations is helping us to fill in some of the blanks and, in turn, provide better access to the State’s archives.

A black silk dress looks well on almost everybody, and if not bedecked with ribbons or lace, which will take whiter, will photograph satisfactorily.