Saturday, 1 February 2014

China and other stories: Sepia Saturday 213

I'm afraid there is a bit of tenuous link to the theme this week of holidays and suitcases, but I feel that now the time is right to share my secret 'treasure trove' of sepia with my fellow Sepians, and I can't wait for a more relevant prompt.

 
 

 I have to start with a bit of background information... Ian's mother used to live next door to two elderly ladies in South East London. They were sisters and shared a large Victorian House until they were both too old and frail. They never married and Ian's mum used to help them our from time to time. When they died she helped to clear their house and acquired a large wooden chest of drawers. When they finally got to look inside, tucked at the back was a collection of old photos. Most of them are on the original glass plates, there are a few negatives and a small collection of prints. Most of them are in poor condition.

No one has ever known what to do with them. The women's father was a Captain A Edwards and I think at one time he had some kind of ambassadorial role in China and/or Japan. The photographs must be from around the early 1900s and as such must have some historical value. In our hurry to move to France we just packed them up and brought them with us and they have remained in the boxes until now, when we have finally managed to unpack a few.

Amongst other things, the photographs seem to be of life in China and the day to day life of these two sisters, who we think were the photographers. So, I suppose the link is to one great big voyage that needed more than one or two suitcases.

The writing on the back of this picture says it was taken in China but that's all I know.  We would like to be able to recover the images from the glass plates, so if any fellow Sepians have any ideas as to how that could be done we would be most grateful.  Until we can find a home for them where they will be appreciated we will continue to be their guardians and maybe share a few more along the way.

13 comments:

Karen S. said...

Oh my, what a treasure you have uncovered. It will be interesting to check back here and see what suggestions you've received. Good luck! This is truly a great photo.

Postcardy said...

Interesting image. I hope you can find out more about it.

Kristin said...

Have you googled "How to print from photographic glass plates"? Might work.

La Nightingail said...

How fortuitous those photographs have found their way to such good guardians! Under other circumstances, they might have been lost forever. I too hope you'll find a way to have the pictures printed from the glass plates & that it isn't too expensive to have it done!

Jackie van Bergen said...

What a treasure, I can see why you couldn't wait to share it. I hope someone can help you with the glass negatives.

boundforoz said...

What a wonderful exotic treasure to possess. You are going to have such fun researching these. I have had a little success with photos I put on Flickr with lots of possible tags and added to lots of different groups. It has brought me a bit of success over time - not overnight but they just sit there and wait for the right person to see them.

Bob Scotney said...

What a beautiful picture that is.

Brett Payne is probably the best Sepian to give you advice. You can find his Photo Sleuth blog via the Sepia Saturday sidebar.

Little Nell said...

How exciting to find such treasure tucked away like that; I hope you do manage to find out more.

Monica T. said...

A treasure indeed. I hope you come up with a good way to preserve them for the future!

Sean Bentley said...

How exciting to find those! I'm always amazed at the number of old photos in antique shops that seem to have just been thrown away. Glad you've kept these!

Alan Burnett said...

That is a fabulous old picture and a fascinating write-up. Who cares if it is a tenuous link : it is a great picture and an interesting description and that is what matters.

Deb Gould said...

There's got to be a way to retrieve these images from the plates: a professional photographer is your best bet...amazing!

Wendy said...

To see life in everyday China back whenever that was is quite interesting. I hope you'll be able to work some more into Sepia Saturday.