Smiling Victorians: why it's a myth that our ancestors didn't smile for pictures
The photo illustrates two women and a gentleman, who is making a bit of a fool of himself. Actually the Victorian humour was mostly based on physical slapstick to which one would often add wordplay and riddles.
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If you have a look at Victorian pictures dating from the 19th century, you will soon enough realize that back then people did not really smile. The reason for this involves two elements:
This picture is one of the earliest proofs that Victorians could also smile in photos.
The model is a young lady who poses typically for the period, however, letting a smile be seen on her face.
The picture shows a family who is captured a bit earlier than expected, fact that allows us to see everybody's natural laughter. This is what used to be known as 'Gigglemug' or 'habitually smiling face'.
The photo was taken after the Kodak had already been launched, which enabled photos of poor people also being taken.
The picture shows three little boys laughing and having the time of their childhood.
The photo shows a happy baby sitting on his mother's lap, as comfortable as possible.
The baby is laughing and the mother is smiling- the mother-child bond was actually at the center of the Victorian so-called 'child-idolisation' phenomen.
The photo shows Queen Victoria smiling in her carriage during the celebrations held in honour to her golden jubilee in Newport. The Queen was known for her wicked humour and passion for salacious gossip.
The photo shows a couple of elderly people posing at Christmas time. Both of them look happy and at peace.
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