Sunday, May 11, 2008
I bought these two old photographs because I liked them. No provenance at all, though the rather bohemian gentleman with his daughter is on an unused English postcard.
The sisters out tricycling together are in a Victorian photograph. I think those might be Humber tricycles, and it could be as far back as the mid 1880's. Those seem to be all steel wheels, I can see a spoon brake to the front wheel, and foot pegs for descents. These must have been children from a wealthy family: these machines were expensive, the girls have matching natty hats to ride in, and of course their father (I guess) is in the road with his camera, and has asked the girls to look right and left as they approach. The avenue of oaks suggests parkland, or long-lost bucolic England at its most idyllic.
I cannot work out the gentleman with his daughter. He has a safety bicycle with pneumatic tyres, and his daughter in the tag-along. He doesn't look wealthy (no watch chain with trinkets, and his shoes are worn; the little girl too wears a simple shawl). He has two tools in his upper pocket; he looks stylishly foreign. But the rear wheel of the tag-along is chocked front and rear, as though he had been helping set up the camera.
Utterly vanished lives, apart from these golden moments.