Sunday, July 09, 2006

Family Cycling, Burnham Beeches

I bought this photographic print from one of my regular postcard dealers last weekend. There's no date or names, just the stamped 'Herb: Sharp and Sons, Burnham, Bucks' to locate the scene.
I surmise that they are a family group, the mother behind her children; it must be late Edwardian. I like the way that the three women look at the camera, while the young man adopts an 'I have got to here, next I will go to there' gaze, his stance resolute as an explorer's. He is towing his younger sister, a slight figure (perhaps she was considered 'delicate'), using a single speed bicycle with just a front rod brake. The tracks in Burnham Beeches roll up and down, and any kind of descent must have been potentially alarming as her weight started to push him along. His immaculate high collar makes no concession, but he must have to work hard on the flat, up any rise, and in using his fixed wheel to fight the rotation of the pedals on the down slopes.

Cycling in its days of high respectability; while the mixture of dark and white in their clothes, and the sun coming through the trees, makes them seem as if they could blur into an impressionist painting.

I must have a look for bicycles in such paintings.

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