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A peek at Edwardian family life

27 October 2009 by Lisa

Heather Price with a black and white photo

Heather Price with her favourite photograph.

Last week our new exhibition at the Lady Lever Art Gallery opened – An Edwardian Family Album. I’m not a big photography buff, but I still found the photos pretty captivating. They not only give you a glimpse into family life in Edwardian times, many of them also have an ethereal quality that is really interesting. They create an effect that is almost like capturing ghosts from the past on film. One that definitely has this feel is the photo of a group of people exploring Castleton caverns. They are all holding torches in a pitch black cave – but of course the ladies are all still wearing their fabulous hats!

Owner of the collection, Heather Price and her late husband David, were given a large collection of glass negatives which had been found in a friend’s attic. Both keen photographers themselves they were keen to get these unusual photographs on display, so that others could enjoy them. Heather said “Dai would have been so pleased with how the exhibition has come together. He’d have been here every other day to see it.” You can see Heather above, with her and David’s favourite photograph from the collection. It is of the photographer’s daughter Mary, dressed in her Sunday best dress and bonnet, with pet dog Bob.

Heather told me that she felt the details in the photos were really wonderful and showed that the photographer, Jack Urton, must have been very knowledgeable about photography. This was a time when advancements in technology meant that more people could start taking their own photographs in any location, rather than having to rely on professionals in studios. This new found freedom must have been pretty exciting and this is palpable in the variety of photos from cute family snaps, to dramatic shots of the Wirral coastline.

You can also have a look at my attempts at photographing the exhibition on our An Edwardian Family Album Flickr set!

If anything in the exhibition reminds you of photographs in your own family album, you can share your memories by filling in a card in the gallery’s response area, or post your comments below.

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