This carefully posed vintage real photo postcard begs the viewer to hypothesize about what’s happening in this photograph. A pretty young woman displaying a far-away look holds an open fan in one hand and a glass of champagne in the other. Her dress and appearance could be described as risque. The top part of her dress is sheer and beaded in places. She has a beautiful hat and wearing a fancy hair ornament. The woman is well dressed and stylish. What is this lovely lady thinking about? Any guesses? The preprinted message on the bottom of the postcard, “prosit neujahr” is German for “Happy New Year”. This postcard was published by Neue Photographische Gesellschaft (NPG) in Berlin, Germany. The postcard was part of a series and was mass produced for sale. It was likely published in the 1910’s.
An exotic looking young girl wearing a mysterious costume, and a big hat poses for her portrait at an unknown studio. She is holding an open fan in a shielding manner. The young woman looks like she may be a teenager. Why is she dressed in this fashion? Is this her wardrobe for a play? Is she going to a costume ball? This image was likely produced in the early part of the cabinet card era and is probably of European origin.
The Shelton family poses for their family portrait at the studio of Poul C. Poulsen in Brisbane, Australia. The photographer appears to have provided the family with props to use in this photograph. The bespectacled Mr Shelton reads to his daughter as she sits on his lap. A second daughter sits in a miniature chair and is holding an open magazine. The eldest daughter (on the far right side of the image) holds a fan that features the image of a pretty woman. Fans such as this, frequently had images of famous actresses of the era. Mrs Shelton has a handkerchief on her lap while another daughter is holding flowers. In the back center of the photograph is the Shelton’s young adult aged son who has his arms folded across his chest and a look of disinterest on his face. Poul Christensen Poulsen (1857-1925) was born in Denmark and arrived in Sydney in 1876. In 1882 he moved to Queensland and opened a photographic studio a few years later. He was later joined by brothers and sisters from Denmark. He opened branches of his studio in other Queensland towns. In 1898 he was appointed the Danish Consul at Brisbane. Over the years, his sons and grandsons entered the photography business. There is evidence on this particular cabinet card that dates it somewhere between 1894 and 1898. The studio located in the town of Gympie that is listed in the advertising on the front of this card, existed between 1894 and 1898.
The young girl in this photograph looks like the American little girls who get all “dolled up” for beauty contests and the results of those efforts are that the girls look much older than their years. Writing on the reverse of this image indicates that the girl in the photograph is ten years old and is named Traudi. Fortunately, Traudi isn’t made up (cosmetically) to look inappropriately provocative like many of the contestants in the aforementioned beauty pageants. However, our “Little Miss Sunshine” looks well beyond her years in this photograph. According to the previous owner of this image, the subject is wearing a fancy “Rokoko” costume. She is also holding a fan. This cabinet card may or may not be an example of “Rokoko” fashion. I’m in way over my head. Fortunately, a number of visitors to the Cabinet Card Gallery are very knowledgeable about the history of fashion and hopefully they will leave a comment confirming or dispelling the Rokoko theory. By matter of explanation, (thank you Wikipedia), Rokoko refers to the late baroque periods artistic movement and style that had impact on fine arts architecture, decoration, interior design, and fashion. The movement developed in Paris, France, and was “more jocular, florid, and graceful” than the baroque influence. The photographer of this image is J. B. Hiebl and his studio was located in Munich, Germany.
Two young women pose for their portrait in Newport, Pennsylvania. Both women are grasping one end of a fan that they hold behind their heads. Their raised arms highlight their hour glass figures which are given an assist by the corsets they are wearing. The photographer is named William Easter Lenney. He was located in Newport in the early 1890’s and moved to Atlanta, Georgia where he became a well known portrait photographer between 1894 and 1920. He and his family then moved to California.
A pretty woman poses for photographer, Ivan Rigyitsky in Werschetz. Werschetz (German name) is a town in Serbia. It is known as Vrsac in Serbia. The town has been under the rule of several different governments over modern times. It was once part of Austria-Hungary. This image has some interesting features. The woman is dressed very fashionably and she is holding an open beautiful fan. Note the lovely scene pictured on the fan. The young lady has a nice figure, with the help of a corset, no doubt.