Woman with a fake fence in Cheltenham, England

What it is:

Carte de visite (CDV) measuring 2.5 x 4 inches.

What I know about it:

Photographer is [George C.] Parker of Pittville, Cheltenham, England.  Otherwise undated and unidentified.


Looking at the little photo in my hand, I thought it was a shame that there seemed to be some damage on the woman’s sleeve.  I figured I’d enlarge the scan and see how bad it was before posting it.  Well, much to my surprise, what looked like some sort of smudge or scratch to the naked eye turned out to be some unusual decoration on her jacket.   (Or maybe I’m just getting old and need to get my eyes checked.)  And the more I considered the jacket, the more it reminded me of another jacket I posted that a reader’s comment said looked Asian in design.  So I looked for that picture, and sure enough, not only are the jackets similar, but both photos are from Cheltenham!  Different photographers, but still.  What’s going on here?  Were the fashionable of the Gloucestershire region suddenly seized with a passion for Chinoiserie?  Or is this, perhaps, the same woman demonstrating a fondness for this type of jacket?  There is a resemblance, though I can’t quite tell if it’s the same woman.  Both photos came as part of the same eBay purchase years ago, so it’s possible.  In any case, I love this photo for itself, but combined with the other it becomes even more intriguing.  By the way, I like how the fake fence has a footrest built into it.

6 comments on “Woman with a fake fence in Cheltenham, England”

  1. That footrest is called a ‘stile” used for climbing over the fence. Lovely portrait.

    • Thank you, Kirsty! Funny, I just assumed it was a foot rest designed for ease of posing in the studio, I didn’t realize it was a reproduction of an actual fence part. I’m grateful for the input. Learning as I go here. 🙂

  2. Reminds me a bit of Lady Mary on “Downton Abbey.”

  3. Any chance the photographer supplied the fake fence *and* the jacket? Not unheard of for costumes and props to be part of the photographer’s cache rather than the sitter’s, right?

    • Hmm, interesting question. Possible, yes, but I doubt it because it’s so distinctive that it would be obvious if it showed up in photos all over Cheltenham. It seems to me that getting your photo taken back then was a special enough thing that you would show up prepared. Still, I could be wrong. For all I know, that lady may have hauled the fence in from home, too. 🙂

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