Fancy Dress Photos

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Fancy Dress Photographs by Sussex Photographers

During Victorian and Edwardian times, it was not uncommon for people to be photographed in historic or fancy costume. A number of professional photographers supplied historical costumes for their sitters to create a novelty portrait. Party-goers on their way to a "Fancy Dress Ball" had the opportunity to pose for their photographic portrait at a High Street studio wearing the costumes they had hired or created themselves for this special occasion.

When electric lighting was first installed in photographic studios during the late 1880s, the main benefit was that portraits could be taken in the evening, so that people on their way to parties and dances could be photographed in their finery. When Mayall & Co. advertised their Electric Light Studio at 90-91 King's Road, Brighton in June 1887, they were keen to point out to their customers that portraits were "taken at all times by ELECTRIC LIGHT", but, after 6pm, by appointment only. Mayall & Co. believed this would be "especially convenient for ladies en route to BALLS and DINNER PARTIES".

Some studios in Sussex supplied fancy dress or historical costumes for their cutomers' use during photographic sessions. In 1903, Edward G. Carver, "Artist & High Art Photographer" of 50 King's Road, St Leonards-on-Sea, provided special "backgrounds" (painted backcloths) and "costumes", making "Dressing Rooms" available for customers. The "backgrounds suitable to the Subject, Costume, &c. producing pleasing works of art instead of the commonplace". (In my own collection of Victorian and Edwardian photographs I have studio pictures of men in Roman togas, men and women in fake naval uniforms and Victorian couples wearing 18th century costume, complete with powdered wigs).

"Fancy Dress" balls were particularly popular during the Victorian and Edwardian period. From the 1880s up until after the First World War, local newspapers would publish reports on fancy dress balls and costume parties. Accounts in local newspapers would often give details of the costumes worn and list the names of the guests who won prizes for their party costumes. For example, in 1910, one newspaper listed the prize winners and notable costumes on show at a recently held Fancy Dress Ball (e.g. Miss Dunn - "Italian Girl", Miss Blair - "Gipsy Queen", Miss Robertson -"Tambourine Girl", Mrs Shells as "Britannia", Miss MacGregor - Spanish Dancer"). National or regional costumes from Continental Europe (e.g. Italian, Swiss, Tyrolean) were particularly popular choices for "Fancy Dress".

Fancy Dress costumes could be hired for the occasion, but many enterprising young women made their own costumes. It seems likely that the three young women posing for their portrait in traditional folk costume at Mrs Bristow's studio in Worthing (see the Worthing panel below), supplied their own costume. (Florence Jupp, one of the Jupp sisters of Worthing, was a dressmaker by trade). After spending hours making a costume for a Fancy Dress Ball it would seem sensible to preserve a memory of the hand-made garment and create a memento of the special occasion by commissioning a portrait from a local professional photographer.

[ABOVE] A studio portrait of a young woman wearing traditional Scottish costume, photographed at one of the branch studios of Van Trolga (c1912). Ernest Van Trolga operated photographic studios in Brighton between 1910 and 1915. Van Trolga had branch studios in London at Clapham Junction and Putney and in Southampton.



[ABOVE] A portrait of a girl wearing Tudor or Elizabethan costume, taken at the Brighton studio of Mora Ltd around 1907. The girl in the picture was one of the daughters of Edward Wesley Tebbs, a Brighton tailor. The girl pictured is either Jessie Elizabeth Tebbs (born 1891, Brighton) or Elsie Amelia Tebbs (born 1894, Brighton). The firm of Mora had been established in Brighton by the photographer Percy Cocker Mitchell (c1847-1899) around 1891. [ABOVE] A woman wearing costume from Ancient Rome or Classical Greece, photographed at the Debenham studio at 109 King's Road, Brighton (c1887). Arthur Debenham (1845-1936) was one of the three sons of the photographer Samuel Debenham (1807-1887). Based on the Isle of Wight, the photographer Arthur Debenham also opened branch studios in London and Southsea. Arthur Debenham's first Brighton studio at 109 King's Road, Brighton was in business between 1886  and 1888.  A new Debenham studio was opened at 127 Western Road, Brighton around 1889. [ABOVE] A cabinet format portrait of two young women wearing national folk costume, photographed at one of the branch studios of E. Mentor & Co. (c1899). The firm of E. Mentor & Co. was established by Elizabeth Zilpha Mentor (born 1861, Stepney, London) and her husband William Hillmer (born c1849, Islington, London). At this time, the firm of E. Mentor & Co. had branch studios in Brighton, Southampton and Bournemouth. The Brighton branch studio of E. Mentor & Co. was in business from 1898 to 1900


[ABOVE] A cabinet portrait of a group of young people wearing 18th century costume, photographed by A. E. Slater of 24 St Georges Road, Brighton (c1883). Although they could be mistaken as a troupe of actors and actresses, this group were probably on their way to a fancy dress ball or historical pageant. The photographer Albert Edward Slater ( born 1863, Brighton ) began his working life as a hairdresser's assistant, but, at the age of 18, he set himself up as a "Photographic Artist" at 24 St Georges Road, Brighton. This "Cabinet Portrait" carries a negative number of 1,485, which suggests the photograph was taken during the early years of Albert Slater's photography business. Albert Edward Slater worked as a professional photographer at 24 St Georges Road, Brighton [ABOVE] A group of school girls attired in various forms of fancy dress, photographed in February 1913 by the veteran photographer A. H. Fry at his studio in East Street, Brighton. The original owner of the photograph (G. B. H.) has provided a useful key on the reverse of the picture identifying the individuals and the type of costume they have adopted: [Standing back row]: Ju - "Dutch Doll", Frances Weary - "Cinderella's Prince", Edith Brabham -  "Elizabethan Man" marked "Our Head Girl". [Seated middle row]: Gwen Williams - "Mrs Gamp", Daisy Head - "Cinderella", Emily Hopkins - "Grecian Lady", Gladys Young - "Norwegian Peasant".  [Seated cross-legged on the floor at the front]: G. B. H. - "Army (soldier)", Crinie -"*eatchman (?)".  Vivien - "Navy (sailor)".

[ABOVE] A picture postcard labelled "Pageant of Old Brighton. No. 5. Lady of Fashion", produced by the Press Photo Company of 75 Havelock Road, Brighton (c1910). The young lady wears a Victorian costume typical of the style worn around 1860,  a fashion worn some 50 years before this photograph was taken. The Press Photo Company was set up in 1907 by the photographer Edward Leonard Carr (1874-1949). [ABOVE] A picture postcard showing a boy in Dutch costume produced by the Press Photo Company of 75 Havelock Road, Brighton (1910). The photograph was taken on the occasion of the "Dutch Fair" held at  St Augustine's Church in Brighton on 12th & 13th October 1910. The Press Photo Company was set up in 1907 by the photographer Edward Leonard Carr (1874-1949). Carr produced a series of picture postcards labelled "St Augustine's Dutch Fair. 1910". [ABOVE] A picture postcard showing a young woman in Dutch costume.





Maude Louise Jupp and her Sisters

[ABOVE] A cabinet portrait of a young woman wearing faux peasant or national-regional costume, photographed by Mrs Eliza Bristow of Chapel Road, Worthing (c1905). The young woman is thought to be Maud Louise Jupp (born 1887, Worthing), the daughter of Hannah and Frederick James Jupp, a poulterer and pork butcher of Montague Street, Worthing. This photograph was taken around 1905 when Maud was around 18 years of age. Maud, who worked as a milliner, had four siblings; a brother, Frederick Albert Jupp (born 1885) and three sisters - Florence, Edith and Lilian May Jupp (born 1892, Worthing). In 1915, Maud Louise Jupp  married Albert Woodwards. [ABOVE] Three young women wearing faux peasant or national-regional costume, photographed by Mrs Eliza Bristow of Chapel Road, Worthing (c1905). The costume worn by these three young women can broadly be described as Italian/Swiss/Tyrolean. This style of national costume was a popular form of apparel for young women attending "fancy dress" dances. The young woman on the right is believed to be Maud Louise Jupp (born 1887, Worthing) [See photo opposite]. Maud's two companions could be two of her three elder sisters -  Florence Annie Jupp (born 1882, Worthing) and Edith Gordon Jupp (born 1883, Worthing). At the time of the 1901 census, Florence Annie Jupp was a 19 year old "Dressmaker" and Edith Jupp was a 17 year old "Assistant in a Laundry Office".

PHOTO: Courtesy of Christine Coles

PHOTO: Courtesy of Christine Coles

The Jupp Family of Worthing

Frederick James Jupp was a poulterer and pork butcher of Worthing. Born in Brighton in 1861, the son of Mary Ann and Henry Jupp (born c1832, Brighton), a fishmonger of Worthing.

In 1880, at Brighton, nineteen year old Frederick James Jupp married a twenty-four year old cook named Hannah Challis (born c1856, Notting Hill / Bayswater, London). After their marriage, the couple settled in Worthing, where Frederick James Jupp opened a poultry and pork butcher business.( Kelly's Directory of Sussex records Frederick James Jupp as a pork butcher and poulterer at 120 Montague Street, Worthing in 1899.

During their time in Worthing, Frederick James Jupp and Hannah Challis produced five children - Florence Annie Jupp (born 1882), Edith Gordon Jupp (born 1883), Frederick Albert Jupp (born 1885), Maud Louise Jupp (born 1887) and Lilian May Jupp (born 1892). At the time of the birth of their youngest child, Mr and Mrs Jupp were living at 28 Graham Road, Worthing.

When the 1901 census was taken, Frederick James Jupp was still the proprietor of the pork and poultry shop at 120 Montague Street, Worthing. At the time of the 1901 census, Florence Annie Jupp was a 19 year old "Dressmaker" and Edith was a 17 year old "Assistant in a Laundry Office". When the next census was taken on 2nd April 1911, fifty year old Frederick Jupp gave his occupation as "Poulterer - Shop Assistant", which suggests that he no longer owned his own pork and poultry business in Montague Street, Worthing. At the time of the 1911 census, Frederick and Hannah Jupp are shown residing at "Woodford", 13 Gordon Road, Worthing. Frederick Jupp's son, Frederick Albert Jupp was working as a carpenter and his youngest daughter Lilian May Jupp was employed as a "Postal Clerk".  Florence Annie Jupp, Frederick Jupp's eldest daughter, had married in 1910. Edith G. Jupp, a single woman of 27, was still living at home with her parents when the census was taken, but she was soon to be married. [ Edith G. Jupp married in Worthing during the 2nd Quarter of 1911 ]. When the 1911 census was taken, Maud Louise Jupp was away from home visiting friends in Northcourt Road, Worthing. On the census return, Maud Jupp is described as a single woman of 24 working as a "Milliner". Maud Louise Jupp went on to marry Albert Woodwards in 1915.

[ABOVE] A cabinet portrait believed to be of Maud Louise Jupp (1887-1958)
[ABOVE] A cabinet portrait believed to feature the Jupp sisters of Worthing (c1905)

[ABOVE] The Jupp sisters of Worthing in fancy dress costume, a cabinet portrait by Bristow of Chapel Road, Worthing (c1905). The Bristow studio had been established in Worthing around 1889 by Walter Charles Bristow (1861-1896). When Walter C. Bristow died in 1896 at the age of 34, his photographic portrait studio was taken over by his widow Mrs Eliza Bristow (1869-1935). Mrs Bristow's Chapel Road studio in Worthing closed around 1918.




    [ABOVE] A picture postcard by the Worthing Portrait Company showing a lady, identified on the reverse as "Sibyl", wearing the costume of a dancer.


[ABOVE] Cabinet portrait of a man dressed up in a naval officer's uniform, photographed by Mrs Matilda Aubrey of 41 West Street, Horsham. (c1900). Mrs Matilda Aubrey (1851-1913) was the wife of the Horsham photographer  Henry Aubrey (1852-1894). Mrs Aubrey took over the running of her husband's West Street studio when he died suddenly in 1894 at the age of 42.

Fancy Dress Post-Card Portraits by W. J. Waller of Horsham

[ABOVE] A young woman in a "Daily Mirror" newspaper dress, photographed by William James Waller of 50 North Street, Horsham. A former postman, William James Waller (born 1877, Rudgwick, Sussex) operated the photographic studio at 50 North Street, Horsham from 1910 until 1938.The photographic studio at 50 North Street, Horsham had been used as a photographic studio since the late 1890s, being previously occupied by John Wheeler (1899-1904), Edward Walton (1905-1906), and Herbert Salmon (1907-1909). [ABOVE] A young woman wearing a very unusual outfit photographed by W. J. Waller of 50 North Street, Horsham. The premises at 50 North Street was situated very near the Railway Station ("6 doors from Station"). This post-card portrait carries the blind-stamp "W. J. Waller, 50 North Street, Horsham". William James Waller ran the tudio at 50 North Street, Horsham for over 28 years. Opened around 1910, W. J. Waller's photographic studio was listed in the trades section of Kelly's Directory of Sussex published in 1938.


[ABOVE] A young woman dressed in the apparel of a good fairy, photographed at the Hastings studio of Shaw & Co. (1913). Sidney Shaw & Co. was based at 51c Robertson Street, Hastings from 1903 until 1918. This picture postcard is signed "G. Bonneville Tutt, 1913". Gladys Bonneville Tutt was born in Hastings in 1887, the daughter of Eliza and John William Tutt, a Hastings coal merchant. In 1916, Gladys Bonneville Tutt married Charles L. Flux.

[ABOVE] A man wearing the costume of an Ancient Roman photographed by Mrs Flora Verrall, Photographic Artist of 275 London Road, St Leonards-on-Sea. The wife of Walter Barnes Verrall, Mrs Flora Verrall (formerly Hay) opened a photographic studio at 275 London Road, St Leonards-on-Sea in 1899.




[ABOVE] A postcard portrait of a young woman dressed in patriotic sailor's uniform, photographed by George Austin of 70 Seaside, Eastbourne (c1916).






[ABOVE] A real photo picture postcard by Dougald Wainwright Leah of 2 Sea View Terrace, Rye (1919). Inscribed in pencil on the reverse of the postcard is the caption "Impi Inglewood, Aug. Bank Holiday, 1919"  The foot of the photographic image is blind-stamped "D. W. LEAH,  2 SEA VIEW TERRACE, RYE".

Dougald Wainwright Leah (born 1850, London) was a coppersmith and metalworker by trade. Dougal Leah moved to Rye around 1909 and, although he still earned his living as a metal worker, he supplemented his income by taking photographs. From 1909 until his death in 1932, Dougald W. Leah was listed as a professional photographer in local trade directories.


[LEFT] A detail from the picture postcard by D. W. Leah of Rye, illustrated above, showing the elaborate costumes worn by this large group of revellers celebrating the August Bank Holiday in 1919.



[ABOVE] A postcard portrait of a young woman dressed in a continental peasant costume, photographed by Arthur Windsor Spice, Landscape and Portrait Photographer, Uckfield (c1913). Arthur Windsor Spice (born 1884, Kingston, Dorset) operated a photographic studio at 174 High Street, Uckfield, from about 1907 until the beginning of the First World War, when the photographer joined the Royal Naval Air Service as a pilot.


[RIGHT] A postcard portrait of a young woman dressed in a costume which personifies "Luck", photographed by Harry Tullett of Haywards Heath. The young lady's costume is adorned by "good and bad luck" symbols such as two black cats,  horseshoes, a set of playing cards, money spiders, crossed knives and the number 13. The young woman has rather wittily placed herself under a "ladder" hair ornament. She is probably holding a broken mirror.

The photographer Harry Tullett (born 1867 Worth, Sussex) began his photographic career around 1894 when he was joined by John Slator to form the firm of Tullett & Slator in Three Bridges, near Crawley. From 1895, Harry Tullett was the sole proprietor of the studio in the High Street of Three Bridges. He is  listed as a professional photographer in Three Bridges from 1894 until 1901.

Around 1902, Harry Tullett established himself as a photographer and picture-frame maker in South Road, Haywards Heath. Harry Tullett remained at his Haywards Heath studio for the next twenty years. Harry Tullett's studio in South Road, Haywards Heath, was acquired by George Banbury around 1922. Harry Tullett retired to his house in Ashenground Road, Haywards Heath. Harry Tullett died in 1941 at the age of 74.

The picture postcard on the right carries a blind-stamp which reads "H. TULLETT. PHOTO. HAYWARDS HEATH".



[ABOVE] A young boy dressed as "Robin Hood" in a picture postcard produced by John White & Son, Photographers, Littlehampton (1913). The hand-written inscription on the reverse  identifies the boy as "Reggie", aged 11 and notes that the photo was taken in January 1913. John White (1850-1932) was Littlehampton's leading photographer throughout the 1880s and 1890s. Around 1903, John White was joined in his photography business by his son Arthur Harold White (born 1877, Littlehampton) to form the firm of John White & Son. In 1913, when this studio portrait was taken, John White & Son were listed as photographers at 7 Beach Road, Littlehampton.



[ABOVE] A cabinet portrait produced by William B. Funnell, Photographer, The Retreat, Newick. William Baker Funnell's portrait features three young women, wearing dresses decorated with the "Union Jack". The photograph probably dates from June 1887, when people across Britain were celebrating Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee.



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