Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Crinoline from Hertford in the 1860s

Lady in Crinoline
This carte de visite of a lady wearing a crinoline helps me to build up a picture of the early photographs of Arthur Elsden, a "photographist" of Hertford who set up business in 1857. 

The crinoline was at the peak of fashion in about 1860, and the photographer details on the back are comparatively simple and do not mention that Arthur Elsden had been "Patronised by H.R.H. the Price of Wales" - wording which appear of a card from a collection of CDV of schoolboys from Haileybury College which are unlikely to be later than 1871.

This raises an interesting future task - to try and find out when Arthur took a photograph of the Prince of Wales - as any photographs mentioning this must be later. Perhaps the Prince of Wales visited Hertford circa 1870?


  1. Prince and Princess of Wales at Hertford. London Standard 30 November 1874. They were there following a visit to the Cowpers at Panshanger. Anthony

  2. The date of 1874 is too late. The Haileybury school CDVs taken by Elsden are of pupils who left the school in 1871 - and have the "patronised by the Prince of Wales" on their backs. The ex-pupils would have no reason to go back to Hertford to get their portraits taken. In any case I suspect that pupils exchanged CDV before they left the school. Even the visit of Queen Victoria to Panshanger (seeing the Oak) and passing by Tewin Water in July 1871 may be too late. In any case, if the Prince of Wales wanted Arthur Elsden to take some photographs I am sure Arthur would have traveled to do so.

    The frustrating thing is that the relevant years of the Herford Mercury have not yet been added to the British Newspaper Archive - as Elsden advertised in it and I am sure he would have added the "patronised" message to his newspaper adverts.


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