Little Roselyne

Click image to see larger. It should open in a new tab or window.

This is a child called Roselyne age 26 months in December 1953, which would make her my contemporary. I hope she’s still happy and still alive, possibly still in France, though of course just because the writing on the back of the card is in French doesn’t mean that’s where she’s from, there are plenty of other countries where French is the native language.

Apart from the details on the back of this postcard-style photo, I don’t know who she is, this card was part of a collection of photos I bought some while back, of children and babies, as colouring photos of children is one of my most favourite things to do!

I’ve gone for a soft pink and lilac look to this and hope her skin tone looks fairly gentle. I tend to avoid putting blush into children’s (and adult’s) cheeks as I think it can make them look more like caricatures than real people, so I leave that to the viewer’s imagination. Generally, in my own colourings, I find that once the light and shade has been balanced, the skin tonalities find their own levels.

It would be nice to think that Roselyne might, one day, be looking at photos online and recognise herself. If she does, I hope she will contact me so that I can send her photo to her.

Here’s the back of the photo:

Mabel Green Edwardian Actress

The photo above is of Mabel Green, 1890 – 1970, daughter of Alfred Coomber and his wife Maud (Tanner). Mabel was married to the actor Stanley Steel. (Info from – click Mabel Green’s name in side panel, there isn’t a direct link to the page.)

Or, if you prefer, she was born in 1887 and died in 1975 and was married to Tom Stanley Steel who was a solicitor! (info from

You see, things can get a little confusing research-wise, online. But I’d rather find stuff this way than have to wade through huge tomes in the library as I would have done in earlier times.

Anyway… this is a fairly recent colouring and, as with the Maude Fealy and the Mignon Gypsy photos, I’ve kept this to a minimum of colours. I must say I’m enjoying doing them this way much more than I’d expected to!

The area that looks like it should be bare skin, is probably a thin, transluscent fabric instead, so I’ve left the pinkish tint there. And there’s an area that is probably lace from the hat, that I’ve just let fade into the background colour… call it artistic license if you will.


Happy Christmas and New Year

This is a vintage card that I recently coloured and I hope you enjoy my choice of colours.  If you click the image, it’ll open up larger and you might be able to make out what I discovered as I was working on it, which is that the children seem to be real while other elements of the image, are painted. So I can only assume that there was an artist who was called in to paint the image over a photograph.   If anyone knows anything about this type of card, I’d be very interested to know more, but I haven’t yet had the time to research it myself.

I want to wish you a Happy Christmas or Happy Chanucah or whatever (if anything) you celebrate at this time of year. And a happy and healthy New Year, too, for 2018. Let’s hope it’s a better one for all of us.

I’m going to be taking a break from blogging until early into the new year, so I’ll see you then. I moderate all comments so may pop back occasionally just to make them visible, but I shall reply to all when I return.

As well as your ever-welcome comments, I’ve turned on Likes for this post, too. If you can’t see the Like button (or the comment form) click on the title of the post and scroll down.

All the best – see you later!

Two women with ornate clothing

I did this some while ago but remember that it took me a very long time to do – particularly all the detail in the green dress with the indication of a slip or petticoat underneath.

I assume it’s either devoré velvet or some type of lace, either way it needed a delicate touch to bring through a sense of its reality. Her wrap is probably silk or chiffon.

It’s surprising what detail shows when tonality is enhanced and colour is added. I hadn’t been able to see the texture in the curtain at the back until I began to work on this photo, nor could I properly see the edging of each dress layer. And I nearly overlooked the jewellery the younger woman is wearing on her left arm.

However, I think I should have done a little more work on the older woman’s jewellery and possibly varied the colouring in the two types of fabric of her clothes. Maybe in the future. As you might guess, I often do other versions.




Ivanhoe -The Colouring!

Ivanhoe, Oxton, 1907. My coloured version. Click the image a few times to see it larger and in more detail. It’ll open in a different tab or window.


Ivanhoe, Oxton, 1907. (Original photograph). Click the image a few times to see it larger and in more detail. It’ll open in a different tab or window.


On the back of this photo it has, in pencil: OXTON 1907 ‘IVANHOE’.  So I had a look online and eventually, in the newspaper notices part of a genealogy site, I found this:

From: The Western Times, Friday, August 16, 1907.


Adapted from Sir Walter Scott’s Novel,
OXTON (Weather Permitting)
AUGUST 17, 21, 22 & 24
At 2.30 p.m. each day.

ENTRANCE, one shilling; Reserved Seats, extra. Tea and light refreshments procurable in the Grounds. Conveyances will meet the 1.6 and 1.16 p.m, down, and 12.22 and 12.38 p.m. up trains at Starcross. Seats in conveyances can be booked in advance on application to Mr. E. Baker, Courtenay Arms, Starcross; Mr. D. Priest, Devon Arms, Kenton.

No admission possible after 2.30 p.m. Grounds open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day.


There’s more than one Oxton in England, and, before I found the news listing, I had assumed that it would have been the one in Nottinghamshire as the original story by Sir Walter Scott has Robin Hood in it. But I was wrong. It’s in the one in Devon and I think ‘The Grounds’ must have referred to the grounds of Oxton House which is a little outside of Kenton and closer to Exeter. Here, in fact:

If you click inside the view, you can click and drag and use your mouse to move inside it. So, if you want, you can explore the area and see if you can find where this production of Ivanhoe may have been photographed. I haven’t been successful with the exact location yet, but maybe you will be. Chances are that since 1907, the landscape has changed a fair bit. In 1987 there was a hurricane that felled a lot of trees in England, so maybe some in the photo are now gone.

Here’s the thing about this photo. It arrived from its Ebay seller as a faded sepia RP (Real Photograph) postcard. I was fascinated by it because it’s a medieval theme and, while I know it was a highly unromantic and bloody time in history, I’ve always had a fondness for it. (When I was eight, I was so potty about the period that I drew a coloured-pencil version of the Bayeux Tapestry to decorate my room, copied straight out of a history book! My dad climbed a ladder and stuck it on the wall above the picture rail.)  But added to the medieval theme in the photo is the fact that its an Edwardian interpretation of the period. So I had to think about colours both from the accessibility of fabrics and dyes in the Edwardian era and how they would have interpreted Scott’s novel. Add to that, the fact that I’ve never read Ivanhoe all the way through… and you’ll see how difficult this was to do.

So… off I went to Project Gutenberg and downloaded a copy of the original book. And discovered that I couldn’t concentrate on reading it all. So, as I’d already done quite a bit of the colouring, I just checked on the jester’s outfit and tried to make sure that I hadn’t done anything wrong…

oh, but I had. Well, I should think nearly everything is wrong as I couldn’t find a consensus of opinion as to the royal colours of the time. Things were made worse by the fact that the Edwardians in the photo hadn’t interpreted their costumes from the orginal anyway… so I decided that the best course of action was just to go with my own interpretation.

The Jester (‘Wamba, the son of Witless’), in the book, wears a purple jacket, a red cloak with a yellow interior, yellow and red leggings, and more bells than this one has. This one hasn’t a cloak at all and I thought if I made his jacket purple that he’d fade into obscurity. So I gave him a red jacket and a red and yellow bi-coloured hat. (Originally I’d done it in yellow, but added the red side as an afterthought.)

The seated royal is meant to be Prince John who, as we know, was bad. (As an aside, and I think as it’s my blog, I’m entitled to one, one of my favourite children’s poems is King John’s Christmas.  Yes, I know it’s not yet Christmas but do listen to it, it’s great fun… unlike the real King John.) So, as I didn’t know his colours, I just went with the ‘gold is royal’ notion.

Difficult to know if Robin Hood is the man between the horses or the man standing at the far right of the photo, or someone else entirely. By the way, I think the latter – the man at the right – has his script tucked into his belt!

The others, well… I’ve used a bit of….um no…. a lot of poetic licence.

I’d still like to get the royal colours right so if anyone has any suggestions, they’re welcome. Also, I don’t suppose the horse should be wearing gold… is its rider not supposed to be Ivanhoe in disguise?

And… there’s more to do but hopefully what I’ve not done won’t be particularly obvious.

So that’s Ivanhoe -The Colouring!



Little Cutie

Look at this little cutie! Isn’t she sweet? This photo was, I think, part of a collection of vintage photos of children that I bought about a year or so back. Not all the photos were great – many were too out of focus, but that’s the price one has to pay for buying this way – but a few were wonderful and this was one of them.

I kept the background fairly muted as I didn’t want it to detract from the child subject. It’s not always particularly easy to get a good balance between background, props and the subject.

I often wonder what the book is in these photos – so many studio photos use them. Unlike most, this looks like a photo album that’s been made up specially. As well as a prop, it probably fulfils another function: that of keeping the child busy til it’s time for the shutter to click. Doesn’t she look like she was surprised by an unexpected call to ‘look over here’?