Twentieth Century Cats (and their owners).

It’s no surprise that people often take photographs of their pets and some collectors specialise in cats and dogs (horses, rabbits etc.) Whilst not a category I go out of my way to collect I do come across many pets in photo lots. Above on the left is cat photo that is undated but the nature of the original suggests mid twentieth century or earlier. On the right is a photo I took and developed myself (hence the odd colour cast) and dates to the early 1980s. It is the most recent photo in this post.

In the popular imagination cats seem to be more associated with women than with men. Curiously all the cat photos I own show only women with cats (actually, the same is true to a lesser fashion of dog photos). Above we have a photos of four women and a cat next to four girls and a cat. The dresses worn by the women suggest the left hand photo is from the Edwardian period; the girls to the right probably a little later.

Hard to date again but perhaps inter-war?

More cat ladies.

More solo cats.

And finally we must acknowledge that some cats are happy to be the centre of attention and others shun publicity. And despite the reference to cat owners don’t ever forget that “Cats, no less liquid than their shadows…. are seldom truly owned.

The View from Pine Clouds Part 2

 From the end of my drive I can see Black Rocks. I’m often struck by how my neighbours at Botany Bay, as it is called, are dwarfed by the rocks and by the trees behind them. This is the moon and stars above Black Rocks and Botany Bay.

The treeline below Black Rocks often looks spectacular and lends itself to Black and White photography (my default).

Another neighbour’s house against the trees in winter.

And this is Pine Clouds itself looking suitably gloomy though colour photos of the house do exist!

The view from Pine Clouds

The house I live in is called Pine Clouds. There are pine trees in the garden and the position of the house is such that it looks across and down into a valley. As a result the surrounding area is sometimes shrouded in mist and often gives the impression we’re floating above the clouds.

From my front terrace I can see across the valley to Middleton.

Often I get great results which fit in with my interest in minimalism in photography just by pointing and shooting.

Below the Middleton skyline is Dene Quarry. This was taken before the permanent crushing facility was removed.

And this was the day the remaining machinery and crushing tower was blown up.

As Middleton is West of the house we also get spectacular sunsets. I haven’t done anything to the two photographs above. The shots are exactly as taken in the camera.

Here the sunset is reflected in the glass top of a table on the terrace of the house.

And here’s a portion of sky in homage to Mark Rothko. Maybe I should make it an NFT!

Vintage Dancing Girls reaches 500 photographs

What began as a side project to my hobby of collecting old photographs has now reached the point where there are 500 “Vintage Dancing Girls” in my flickr album of that name.

The photograph above is number 500. There is no information to identify the girl or the studio/photographer responsible. Often a photo or RPPC will have the studio printed on the reverse or embossed on the front. With luck there will be the name of the girl(s) that some family member has written on the back. In the case of professional or semi-pro dancers there may be much more information.

Here’s an example of a professional troupe, the George Carden Dancers,  where it’s possible to know much more. Stamped on the reverse is “Copyright Photograph by Associated Television (ATV) (Reproduction for editorial purposes if credit given).” This troupe appeared in many British TV programmes of the 1950s and 1960s including the Royal Variety Performance.

The two photos above come from a  full album of photographs. Very few have any information and certainly none of the performers’ names. All except one of the photographs give the locations as Par, St Ives and Newquay and are dated 1936. The exception is noted as Bognor 1937. There is one photograph of the girls in everyday clothes recorded as Stanmore Common which is in the London Borough of Harrow. Putting the pieces together it seems most likely that the girls are a semi-professional or amateur group of dancers from London who toured the South of England in 1936 and 1937. (The board advertising a demonstration by “London Experts” would seem to confirm this.)

Many troupes were performers in Music Hall and Variety (also a subject I collect). These are four Tiller Girls. When I began this collection I thought the Tiller Girls were just the troupe that used to perform in Sunday Night at the London Pavilion but in fact Tiller Girls began in 1890 under the guidance of John Tiller and there have been many troupes of Tiller Girls. Tiller’s Girls by Dorothy Vernon is a good book if you want to know more about the Tillers and their variants.

Jessie Matthews was probably our greatest dancing girl of all time and is best seen in her musicals of the 1930s. Look her up on YouTube and be amazed. (She later became known as Mrs Dale in the long running radio series Mrs Dale’s Diary).

No identification of the performers on this one but photo is credited to R Foucher-Creteau of Paris.

It’s taken ten years to assemble the collection of Vintage Dancing Girls and simple arithmetic suggests one photograph was added every week but in reality it’s been more sporadic. There have been several albums which have provided multiple photographs, such as the one mentioned earlier of London dancers performing in St Ives. You can see the full album where I will continue to add photographs in my flickr feed.