October 5, 2012

Extraordinary Early Fashion Photographs by Clementina, Lady Hawarden in the 19th Century

Clementina, Viscountess Hawarden (1822-1865) produced over eight hundred photographs during her all-too-brief life. Most of these were portraits of her adolescent daughters.

By whisking away the furniture and bric-a-brac common in scenes of upper-class homes of the Victorian period, Lady Hawarden transformed the sitting room of her London residence into a photographic studio - a private space for taking surprising photos of her daughters in fancy dress.

With drama, wit, and verve, Lady Hawarden’s girls, becoming women, entwine each other, their mirrored reflections and select feminine objects (an Indian traveling cabinet, a Gothic-style desk, a shell-covered box) as homoerotic partners. The resulting mise-en-scène is secretive, private, delicious, and arguably queer—a girltopia ripe with maternality and adolescent flirtation, as touching as it is erotic.













(via The Library Time Machine)




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