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

The Sunday porch: Valdres, Norway

tonsasen-sanatorium-porch-ca-1890-by-carl-curman-valdres-norway-swedish-heritage-boardWomen on a veranda at Tonsåsen Sanatorium (the woman on the left is wearing a traditional costume similar to the one in this photo), Valdres, Norway, ca. 1890, by Carl Curman, via Swedish National Heritage Board Commons on flickr (all three photos).

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Tonsåsen Sanatorium was established for the treatment of tuberculosis in 1881 — the same year that the bacillus causing the disease* was identified by Robert Koch. Like similar facilities, just about the only treatment it could offer was a combination of nutritious food, rest, and plenty of fresh air. However, it also had thermal baths, and the photographer, Carl Curman, was a physician, specializing in the science of health baths (balneology).

tonsasen-sanatorium-2-ca-1890-by-carl-curman-valdres-norway-swedish-heritage-board

Even at the better sanatoriums, fifty percent of patients were dying within five years in 1916. It was only after the development of antibiotics after World War II that it was possible to treat and cure TB reliably. Tonsåsen closed in the 1960s.


*TB was proven to be communicable in 1869.

Vintage landscape: riverside

coblence-germany-garden-cropped-on-the-rhine-ca-1920s-bibliotheque-toulouseGardens alongside the Rhine River, Coblence (Rhineland-Palatinate)” via Bibliothèque de Toulouse Commons on flickr (cropped slightly by me).

The Bibliotheque‘s flickr page gives Eugène Trutat as the photographer, but M. Trutat died in 1910, and the women’s dresses seem to be from the 1920s, maybe even the 1930s.

Coblence — now Koblenz — is a German town located where the Rhine and Moselle Rivers come together. The photo may have been taken here, looking over to the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress.

Life in gardens: buying flowers

Une marchande de fleurs, au niveau du 64 avenue Hoche, Paris (VIIIe arr.), France, 1924 (?), (Autochrome, 9 x 12 cm), Auguste Léon, Département des Hauts-de-Seine, musée Albert-Kahn, Archives de la Planète, A 69 599 X

A flower seller at 64 Avenue Hoche, Paris, ca. 1924, by Auguste Léon, via Archives of the Planet Collection – Albert Kahn Museum /Départment of Hauts-de-Seine.

This autochrome is one of about 72,000 that were commissioned and then archived by Albert Kahn, a wealthy French banker, between 1909 and 1931. Kahn sent thirteen photographers and filmmakers to 50 countries “to fix, once and for all, aspects, practices, and modes of human activity whose fatal disappearance is no longer ‘a matter of time.'”* The resulting collection is called Archives de la Planète and now resides in its own museum at Kahn’s old suburban estate at Boulogne-Billancourt, just west of Paris. Since June 2016, the archive has also been available for viewing online here.

I wasn’t able to make a flower arrangement this week for the Monday meme “In a vase on Monday,”‘ but to see what other garden bloggers have created today, please visit host Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.


*words of Albert Kahn, 1912. Also, the above photo (A 69 599 X) is © Collection Archives de la Planète – Musée Albert-Kahn and used under its terms, here.