Evelyn and Charlie


I love this photo and am happy to have been able to re-colour it. I say ‘re-colour’ as it was one of the ones I lost when my pc crashed.

Unusually, the people on the front are named on the back, in fact the card was written by Evelyn, the woman in the photo. The man is her brother, Charlie, and she’s writing to their sister Kate. You can see the back of the photo and her message, below.

Click the photos above and below a couple of times to see them larger and in more detail.

They are both very well-dressed and she has jewellery, so they are probably upper class. The fact that she mentions that the photo was taken in Harrogate makes me think that they didn’t live there. Also she says she got ‘them’ taken there, so they must have had a number of prints made. I wonder if it was for a special occasion? The ‘wall’ prop in the studio is unusual in that it’s quite detailed.

There’s a lot of silvering to the photo, including the outer part of the photo over his suit, and also to the part at the top of the backdrop, so what looks like a gap in the branches of the tree, is simply damage to the photo. I’ve restored it to a degree but didn’t want to overwork it.

I think the buttons are probably enamelled or possibly glass, so I’ve given them a light two-colour treatment and left the rims silver. I’d meant to make them the same colour as her bracelets, but ended up leaving them. I couldn’t decide if his watch/fob chain should be silver or gold, so I did a very slight tint. I’ve no idea what the item is that is hanging from the chain – it looks like a tassel, but I don’t think it can be, so I’ve left that plain. This is one of the main problems of not being able to identify part of a photo – how the heck to colour it!

In my original colouring of this photo, I did two versions one of which had Evelyn wearing a different coloured dress. My ‘go-to’ colours for dresses of this period are green, sometimes a deep maroon, sometimes dark blue, sometimes brown, but green is always my first choice. Colourings can be changed and I couldn’t decide what she’d have worn. Then, while my pc was away being repaired, I kept thinking about this photo and realised that, in my memory, she was always wearing green. A rich green that makes her come alive and match her lovely smile. So when I came to re-do it, that’s how I set the colour.


I find it very frustrating and not a little upsetting that whoever decided to part with this photo – whether the original owner’s descendants or the seller – forcibly wrenched it from a hard-card backing or out of a photo album. The remaining, dark paper looks like that of a photo album. Removing a photo from a collection in such a way is bad enough, but to pull it out so that it becomes damaged, is (in my opinion) unforgivable.  But that’s the way many sellers make their money – they buy an album, pull the photos from the pages, and sell the photos individually.

According to an archived document I found, the photographer, Mark E. (Edward) Mitchell lived and worked at 5 & 6 Montpellier Parade, Harrogate, York. The embedded Google Streetview below opens on 4 Montpellier Parade (Blues Cafe), so it was either one (or two) of the neighbouring buildings or, more likely, the buildings were re-numbered. (Number 7 is the Spirit of Harrogate building.)

You can click, drag and zoom inside it to move around.



59 thoughts on “Evelyn and Charlie

  1. Love this photo Val, I especially love the wry smile given by the female in the picture. I’m not quite sure how you have done it but you have given the image more warmth and depth. Was that intentional? Or just a natural part of the colouring process?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Somewhat intentional. These old photos are generally rather faded and I aim to make them look like they were originally taken in colour rather than simply tinted. So that usually means adjusting the tonality (highlights, midtones and shadows balance). It probably looks warmer due to a combination of the colours I used and also the clarity. Thanks, Ty.


  2. Very nice! They looked happy and more relaxed than people usually do, in studio portraits. I was just in Albany (the capital of NY) for the weekend, and went to a local history museum – – they did an exhibit of Victorian clothing, about forty dresses, and I was surprised how jazzy some of them were. I think their site only has one picture, but here it is http://www.albanyinstitute.org/well-dressed-in-victorian-albany-19th-century-fashion-from-the-albany-institute-collection.html ( I can send you a couple of cellphone snapshots if that’s of any interest.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A distant cousin sent us a relative’s watchchain year’s ago, I think when she was clearing out her mother’s house, and it had all sorts of odd things hooked onto it – – a locket, some sort of metal tassel thing, what appeared to be a couple of inches of woven hair with metal on both ends, and a key, to what, we have no idea.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have a very vague recollection of something with an open-up panel that I inherited from my mother – not sure if it’s a watch or a pendant that might have had a photo in it, but it’s a similar sort of style from what I recall – has a flip-open panel and would have been worn on a chain. I’m wondering if it had belonged to her mother, or maybe her grandmother (who she’d never known.) There are so many bits and pieces that people keep and pass on and don’t say what they were…
        How odd to have woven hair with metal on the ends… is it kind of like beadwork, do you think? And a tassel? That makes me wonder if it’s something ‘standard’ that Victorians and Edwardians wore. I must research further! Thanks.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Mmm, yes, that’s a possibility though I’d expect to see other, similar blemishes. Another possiblity, talking of ‘burnt’ (though in a different sense), I wonder if whatever it is had been accidentally ‘dodged’ by the photographer during developing. I suspect we’ll never know.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m just wondering if Charlie might have been a pipe smoker, because I’ve another photo (I think the one of the people in deckchairs several posts back) in which one of the men has some sort of impliment that I’d thought might be to tamper the tobacco in his pipe. Maybe it’s something functional like that? And I wonder if it’s white because it’s metal and has just caught the light too much? It’s definitely hanging from one end of the chain.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. I just had a look at the original photo in high resolution and it looks like it might be ivory with a carved or patterned top which is the part that has a metal eye in it (for threading onto a ring or hook on the chain) The lower end looks like it is split or indented.

              Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s often much easier to find the photographer’s address than anything about the subjects in the photo! I love finding the buildings, too. Good luck with yours! Glad you like the dress and the work. Thanks, Sarah. x


  3. That velvet dress is a stunner. You did a beautiful job. As for the chain and its mysterious dangle, I have my grandfather’s pocket watch, and it has two little Scottie dogs attached: one red, one white. My mother gave them to him. From what I remember her saying, it often was the custom to give little things that could be attached to watch chains and such, both for utility (like a pipe tamper) or sentimentality, or both.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Having had another, closer, look at it on the original, my guess is it’s a pipe tamper, possibly ivory. But yes, it might be something sentimental, too. Glad you like the dress colouring, etc, thanks, Linda.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Green strikes me as the right color for the dress, too.

    Your mention of Montpellier reminds me of the French penpal I had in high school and college, who lived in Montpellier. In the United States, Montpelier (with one l) is the capital of the state of Vermont, which means “green mountain”.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for choosing to follow my humble blog and taking time to comment on a post about a lost portrait. I will enjoy exploring yours. It is always interesting how much we can learn from old photos but I never thought of having them colored to bring out detail. You do great work! I have done some family research and have many old photos and documents/letters that tell a story.

    Liked by 1 person

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