Victorian woman with scroll

What it is:

Cabinet card measuring 4.25 x 6.5 inches.

What I know about it:

Photographer is James Brown of Manchester and Leeds, England.  Otherwise undated and unidentified.


The other day I was looking at some pictures online that were described as being from a collection of Victorian photos.  I got to thinking about the word “Victorian”, and how it’s used.  I live in San Francisco, which is famous for its Victorian houses.  And yet much of what America has produced in the late 1800s is classified with references to other eras (Civil War, Antebellum, etc.) or genres (western, etc.).   While I have posted plenty of photos produced during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901), I haven’t labeled any of them Victorian.  I suppose it feels weird to me to call a photo Victorian if isn’t British.  So I specifically hunted for a British photo in my collection that I could label Victorian.  I’m not expert at dating these, but I’m guessing this one is from the 1880s or early 1890s.  (Better guesses are welcome.)  And while there are towns of Manchester and Leeds closer to each other in the state of Maine (about 15 miles) than they are in the country of England (about 40 miles apart), it is the addresses on the back (12 Peter Street, Manchester, and 72 Boar Lane, Leeds) that narrow it down to England.  Thank goodness for the internet to be able to quickly look these things up!  As for the photo, I’m not sure what the scroll is.  The scroll combined with the book imply graduation to me. She strikes me as old enough for a college degree, but that would have been exceedingly rare for a woman in that era.  So I don’t know.  Regardless, whatever this is a photo of, I think it’s a handsome portrait.

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