Need help, please, dating a Warsaw and a Liverpool studio photo of my great-grandmother #poland #unitedkingdom #photographs

Barry Clarke

I have two undated formal studio photos of my great-grandmother, one taken in Warsaw and one in Liverpool. I am struggling to make sense of them from the age she looks in them vis a vis when I understood her to have been in Poland and in the UK. I need some outside opinions as to which years each photo may have been taken. Maybe someone can judge by the clothes she is wearing? She was born 1862/1863. I have attached the photos, but I don't know how they will appear in this format, so please email me at bbclarke98@... if you need to see a full-size attachment, and I will email it to you.

Thank you,

Barry Clarke
British, living in Sarasota, Florida 
CLARKE from SZKLARKIEWICZ OR SIMILAR in London, Dublin, Liverpool, Bulawayo, Cape Town, maybe USA 
MYERS in Manchester and Cape Town
NEWMARK from NEUMARK in London and USA
BRAHAM changed from LEVINSON in London.



For both photos I had a look at the photographer and for the Liverpool one it is certain that it was from the late eighteenhundreds. Considering the type of clothes on the Warshaw one they date form the same period which is confirmed by the advertising I copied.

Brown, Barnes & Bell

Liverpool branch at 31a Bold Street existed from 1877 till 1890

Plac Krasinskich No. 3
Obok (near) Ogrodu (garden)
"Negatives are kept by the photographer and new prints can be ordered at any time...Bad weather makes no
difference in photos."

cir late 1800s

Ron Peeters
Ulvenhout (NL)

Michele Lock

There is a facebook group called 'Genealogy - Dating old photographs' that you could post your photographs on. They will be able to pinpoint what decade these photos are likely from, based on the style of clothing, hair, jewelry, posing in the photos, flower arrangements, and the like. Particularly the second photo, with the dress having such a distinctive collar. 

My guesstimate is that these photos were taken within 10 years of each other, because the woman does not look considerably older in the second, and her hairstyle is very similar. She is also alone in the photos - I believe that if a woman was married/engaged, she'd more likely be photographed with the man in her life, and her children, particularly since these were formal photos done in a studio. But that's just my opinion. 

I have a photo of a great aunt, taken in 1909 in the US when she was first engaged, and her dress is very similar to that worn by the woman in your photos. However, her hairstyle is very different, and she is looking directly into camera. Little details that can make a difference. 

Best of luck with this.

Michele Lock
Alexandria, VA

Barry Clarke

This is extremely useful, Michelle, and much appreciated. I will post the photographs on the Facebook group, as you suggest. The backstory to my great-grandmother is complicated, so dating the photos will help enormously. A new spanner in the works this morning is the suggestion from one person who replied privately that the photos are of two different women! That had not occurred to me, but it does seem feasible that the Warsaw photo could in fact be my great-great-grandmother (no other photos exist for me to compare with), and then the woman in the Liverpool photo (many years later) her daughter, my great-grandmother (I know for sure the Liverpool photo is her). Responses here, and a few privately, are split as to the age differences and even as to which photo is the younger! An observation is that in the Warsaw photo there is no ring and in the Liverpool photo there is. 

If you, or anyone else reading this, has an opinion on whether these are two photos of one woman or of two women, and what their ages at the time of the photos might be,I would appreciate hearing!

Again, Michelle, my thanks,

Barry Clarke

Michele Lock

Now that I am taking another look at the photos, I notice in the second one that the sleeves are the style known as 'leg of mutton', which became popular in the 1890s. The fabric also looks to be seersucker, though an expert would be able to tell for sure.

In the first photo, the sleeves are 3/4 length (several inches above the wrist), but I don't know when these came into fashion, or went out of fashion, just as important. And she's holding a fan, which strikes me as being from a time earlier than the 1890s [To me, it just screams 'Civil War' and 'Gone with the Wind', but then the woman would be wearing a hoop skirt].

I also have thought that these might be two different women. The women look similar in terms of their lips/nose/eye color, but the first one is somewhat heavier, and has a slightly different look. I've thought that they might be sisters, but it is possible that they are mother and daughter, especially if the first photo is dated to the 1870s or so. 

If you really want an expert opinion, there is a person who runs a business called 'Sherlock Cohn' who specializes in dating photographs, particularly of Jewish families. It appears there is a fee for her to do this, but apparently she is very thorough.

Michele Lock
Alexandria, VA

Michael Sharp

clearly late 1800s

Michael Sharp, UK

Barry Clarke

Again, Michelle, you have provided me with helpful insight and information. I have taken a look at Sherlock Cohn's website and will definitely send her copies of the photos and the surrounding stories/mysteries! If you care to send me privately your email address, I will email you her findings.

Since you are so perceptive, do you have a personal opinion as to the the ages in both photos? The same question to anyone else who reads this!

Thank you,

Barry Clarke