Curious little boy


I always wonder with these photos of small children, how long it takes to get them settled enough to take a photo. This one looks to me like he was perhaps in mid ‘flap’. (You know the way small children sort of flap about with their hands and partially jump without entirely leaving the surface they’re sitting on?) Then someone said “Look! Look at the birdie!” and he looked up wondering “What birdie?”

I love colouring photos of children. The expressions on their faces and their poses are priceless.

A couple of curious things about this child… one is how patchy his face is. I think he must have either flushed in the studio lighting, or maybe has some sort of skin or capillary condition?  The other is his shoes. I thought at first that they were odd ones, but now think that the inner side of the one in the foreground (his right shoe) is simply hiding the smooth, paler, leather part that can be seen in the other one.

I’ve done a small amount of (digital) restoration to remove the handwriting that was written on the image (probably in crayon or soft pencil). I can’t make out what has been written, possibly a name – it looks to me like a signature. The parent, maybe?

Unfortunately, I don’t know the date of the photo or who the child is or was, or its family. I’d take a guess at 1950s for the date. The shoes have thick crepe soles, the shorts look like they might have been made for him, the white top might also be home-made. What do you think?

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16 thoughts on “Curious little boy

  1. Your photocoloring really brings out the cuteness in his face. 😊 I too wonder if the flushing is caused by some condition. His hand looks almost plastic and unreal as if swelling has caused it to appear as such.

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  2. The child may have eczema on his cheeks. All sorts of things can cause that. In my early childhood, my mom used to starch our pillowcases (!) . She had to stop because I developed eczema on my cheeks from rubbing against the starchy pillow cases. (Turned out I was allergic to the starch). The little outfit the baby is wearing looks like what used to be called a “panty waist” — an outfit where the pants would button onto the shirt tail. — it kept the shirt tail in, and the pants up, but allowed for changing the baby. It also became a pejorative term that boys would call each other when they were being “babies” or “sissies” or otherwise not behaving in what the other boys judged to be a “manly” fashion.

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    1. Mmm… I hadn’t thought of the pants buttoning to the shirt tail, yes, I remember seeing those. (I’m not a mother, but did a partial training as a nursery nurse when I was young, and of course have a lot of friends with kids! 🙂 )
      Eczema is a possibility. I have it myself in various places (horribly itchy thing!) but mine doesn’t look like this so it wasn’t a first thought.


  3. Darling pic and great restoration on your part. I think the child was in an accident or those are birth marks. Maybe he was an abused child. We’ll never know unless you might put this on FB and try to get it shared many times. Is he British?


    1. I assume it’s a British photo but it might not be. I buy these from online sites (usually Etsy or Ebay) and while the sellers I buy from are based in the UK, the cards and photos of course might not be from here. Mmm… could they be birth marks? To me it looks too patchy and smooth to be scars from an accident and that’s why I didn’t immediately think that it might be eczema, either, as other commenters have suggested. The problem is how inaccurate the original photo might be – and of course what the original colouration on the child’s face might have been. I’m assuming it was red or pinkish, but it might have been something else. Thanks, Yvonne.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I closed my Ebay account last year as I was buying too many of these cards and photos! But I’ve now gone back to it as I realised there were other things (not vintage stuff) that I can only get on that site. 🙂 Etsy is friendlier in many respects.

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