Two men and two women on beach, c. 1860-70.
Subject: Two men and two women on the beach
Note: This CDV was purchased in New York City. Provenance unknown.A rare example of on-site photography. There is a slight possibility that this is a staged, indoor beach setting, but because it lacks the typical trappings of early beachwear photographs (e.g. obviously fake backdrops, props of anchors and other boating gear) and because it looks like there is sand in the foreground, I believe that this is one of the earliest known photographs taken of people on the beach
Man on the Left: Appears to be wearing a loose wool shirt with center front placket extended to just above waist level. The placket closes with 4 visible buttons. A fifth button on PR neck indicates a possible placket extension. Shirt has collar and very full sleeves that bunch around the wristband. Shirt is tucked into trousers and bloused. Trousers of wool, probably matching shirt, with front opening with visible buttons. Trousers are full, gathered into ankle with a band and ending with a short frill over the foot. Straw hat with chin strap. There is a dark spot on the front crown, significance unknown.
Woman, Second from Left: Short dress, probably wool. Flat collar about 2″ wide with dark trim at edge. Bodice bloused slightly into belt at natural waistline. Belt of self fabric trimmed at top and bottom with same trim as collar. Full sleeves ending at wrist, banded with contrast trim, with short ruffle over hands. Skirt is pleated (possibly cut all in one with bodice, basted at waist into pleats); knee-length, trimmed with two horizontal stripes of same trim as elsewhere. Pantaloons are full, probably modeled on young children’s drawers, with openings at either side, and buttons fastening at the waist. Pantaloons are full, gathered at ankle with two stripes of coordinating trim, with a ruffle over the foot about 3″ long. She wears her hair bound, and a straw hat, possibly pulled down at sides to tie under the hair. May also be a bonnet in the typical style, with bavolet and rosette at top.
Man, Third from left: Hip-length shirt, probably of wool. Opens all the way down center front, with a contrasting (dark) panel of fabric and twelve contrasting (light) buttons. Dark material is bound with contrasting braid along all edges, including center fronts and collar. Center front at waist slightly rounded. Cuff not visible. Shirt is untucked. Trousers of fabric probably same as the shirt. Moderately full, banded at ankle with contrasting (dark) fabric or tape, with contrast (dark) placket and light button at inside ankle. No ruffle is visible. Straw hat with chin ties, loosely knotted. His has is tipped slightly back, showing just enough of the crown to reveal a dark spot in the same shape and size as the other man has.
Woman, far right: Dress, probably of wool. Buttons up front with widely-spaced, contrast color (dark) buttons (probably four total). Neckline not discernible. Sleeves pleated at armscye and pleated into contrasting band at wrist, with no discernible ruffle. Thin belt of contrasting fabric. Skirt pleated; ends midway between knee and ankle. Bottom of skirt decorated with wide (5-7″) band of contrasting fabric. Trousers end at ankle, gathered into loose bands of light-coloured material, with similar band of contrasting fabric falling over tops of the feet, Hair is center parted and bound up, and she wears a bonnet or hat pulled down at sides to form a coat-scuttle shape.