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Friday, 17 November 2017

Flowers for the ladies

This week's Sepia Saturday prompt photograph shows a young lady posing alluringly in a photographer's studio with a basket of flowers. In 2011 after my Aunty Pat Morrison passed away we discovered an old album of Cartes de Visite photographs stored amongst her belongings. They are lovely to look at but sadly we have not been able to identify very many of the almost two hundred photographs contained in the album. 
The first photograph below is not from the album, but was shared with me by a distant cousin in New Zealand, which is where most of my family lived, and she tells me that this lady is Mrs Ann Forbes, nee Anderson, widow of William Forbes, who was the eldest brother of my great grandfather Charles Forbes. In other words, she was Charles' sister-in-law. Ann was born in Clatt, Aberdeenshire in 1845 and she emigrated to Canterbury New Zealand in 1851, together with her parents and nine of her twelve siblings. She married William Forbes in 1863 in a double wedding ceremony, in which her sister Sophia married Thomas Ross. At the date of their marriage Ross and Forbes were partners in The Weka Pass Hotel and they also operated a cartage business in the Weka Pass area. William and Ann had five sons and a daughter, but their daughter Ann and youngest son James died as infants, and then William died of Tuberculosis in 1877 aged 38.  Ann might not have had too much to smile about in those times of loss, but never the less she survived long after her husband. She died in 1936 aged 89 and is buried in Balcairn Cemetery in Amberley New Zealand, together with William, Ann, James and her parents John and Margaret Anderson. 

The following photograph is from the old album I inherited, and shows a younger woman posing side on for the same Christchurch firm of photographers, Grand and Dunlop, beside the same vase and a very similar if not identical vase of flowers. There are other photographs by the same photographic studio to be found online showing other ladies posing beside the same vase, so the flowers may not even be real, but the fact that this second photograph is in the album suggests that whoever this lady is, she must be related to the Forbes or Anderson family in some way. Ann had two daughters-in-law but they did not marry her sons until the late 1890s, which seems too late for this photograph, because the photography business was sold by Grand and Dunlop in 1887. It could perhaps be her youngest sister Elizabeth Anderson, who was born in New Zealand in 1852. The lady here could perhaps be pregnant, but that impression might just be the angle of the photograph. Ladies were pretty good at disguising their condition back then, by breathing in, tightening their stays and buttoning up! 
I generally don't include the siblings of in-laws on my tree, so I haven't researched Ann's family in any great detail and consequently can't come to any more definite conclusions about this lady's identity.

It looks to me as if those flowers could be hydrangeas, so in tribute to both ladies, known and unknown, here's a hydrangea in bloom in our garden today, grown from a cutting and flourishing well.

Finally here is my mother-in-law Mary, totally unrelated to the ladies above, doing well and living on her own at 92 years young. We sent her these flowers on the occasion of her 90th birthday. 

Click here for more posts about young ladies with baskets or vases of flowers. 

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