Tilba Tilba portrait

“Charlie Ferguson’s sister,” Tilba Tilba, New South Wales, ca. 1895, by William Henry Corkhill, via Trove of the National Library of Australia.

I love this formal pose in front of a vegetable garden — and it’s very typical of the photographer’s work.

“Charlie Ferguson and William (Wallaga) Arthur Mead with an unidentified man. Click to enlarge.

Corkhill was an amateur who took thousands of pictures of his prosperous dairy farming community between 1890 and 1910.

His images were rediscovered in 1975, when his daughter gave his surviving glass plate negatives to the National Library. Among the 840 that could still be printed were portraits of family and neighbors of a “special intensity and intimacy,” according to the book, Taken at Tilba.

For the natural light, Corkhill had to work outside, in gardens and farmyards. But he often posed his subjects as if they were in a studio, with small tables, chairs, and books. His backdrops were sometimes shrubs and flowers, but he also seemed satisfied with rough fences, water tanks, or the space between two farm sheds. Occasionally, the sitters look a little amused by the process, but the photographer’s approach is not ironic.

“Corkhill’s familiarity with and affection for his subjects is evident . . . and imbues his photographs with a strange combination of authority and informality. He has a rather casual approach to the backgrounds in his portraits, as if his familiarity with the scenes he records makes him impervious to some of their oddities,” according to his biography on the Library’s website.

You can click on the linked titles below to see more of his pictures, or you can browse through the online catalog here.

Woman with a dog
Woman by a cane table
Daisy Mead
Boy by a chair
Mrs. Elizabeth Kendall Bate, aged about 83
Man sitting in a garden
Two young men
Frank Stanley Griffiths
Corkhill’s wife and their children
Byrnes family
Young woman by a table
Two children
Two young men

Uptown garden


“Artist’s uptown residence,” New York City, ca. 1860, via Robert Dennis Collection of Stereoscopic Views, New York Public Library.

Detail from above image.

Upper Manhattan at this time was rapidly transforming from country to city — as villages and small farms became blocks of middle-class rowhouses. This backyard, with its neat latticed sitting area and then large cabbage garden, seems to encapsulate the change.

Detail.

Unfortunately, we don’t have the name of the artist or the address. Is he one of the two men in top hats sitting by the door, or was she standing in front of them, balancing a small boy on the fence — or maybe taking the picture?

The Sunday porch: Alberta

Mary and Sandy Lee (daughters of the photographer) cleaning the porch, Mountain Park, Alberta, 1935, by Charles Leevia Provincial Archives of Alberta Commons on flickr.

Cleaning should probably be in quotation marks. I think their mom was in the house having some quiet time.

The girls’ father, Charles Lee, emigrated from England to Mountain Park, Alberta, in 1919. There, he worked for the coal mine as a delivery person, steam engineer, and watchman. He also became a photographer and created postcards of Mountain Park. The mine closed in 1950, and the Lee family moved on.  Mountain Park is now a ghost town.

GB Bloom Day in April

I went over to the University of Hohenheim’s Spielhaus garden for the first time in months yesterday to see what was blooming in mid April.  The cherry trees that were so amazing this time last year had finished and the magnolias were also winding down.  The perennial beds were still pretty subdued, except for this very nice bit just below the terrace and wisteria arbor.

I thought this combination was great: Tulipa clusiana ‘Tubergen’s Gem’ and yellow Aurinia saxatilis ‘Compactum’. The little weeping tree above them is Sophora japonica ‘Pendula’.

The Spielhaus (play house) was built in the 1780s for Grand Duke Carl Eugen von Württemberg and Franziska von Hohenheim, his mistress and then morganatic wife. It originally only had one floor and was one of about 60 folly-type structures in their “English garden” of Hohenheim Palace.

In another part of the Spielhaus garden, these small tulips were really sweet.

I loved these Tulipa clusiana var. clusiana.

I also loved the Tulipa sylvestris, although I didn’t take a very good picture of them.

I like the way they all turn in more or less the same direction.

To see the mid-April flowers of other garden bloggers, please visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

The flower seller, NYC


An Easter floral display at Bradshaw & Hartman, New York City, between 1900 and 1905, by Detroit Publishing Co.via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division (both photos).

I found this advertisement in The Weekly Florists Review, Vol. 12, 1903:

Established 1891
Geo. E. Bradshaw   John R. Hartman
Wholesale Florists
53 West 28th Street, New York
Telephone 1239 Madison Square
Consignments Solicited
Mention the Review when you write.

The current building at 53 W. 28th Street seems to be the same one in these pictures.

There have been flower wholesalers on this section of 28th Street since the 1890s, according to this interesting article in The Economist.