Carte de visite; XCH.1505

From

Clendon House

Name/Title

Carte de visite

About this object

This sepia-toned carte de visite pictures a young woman who is wearing a dark Victorian-styled dress. The young woman has long hair styled in ringlets which is tied back and accessorised with a white flower. She also has another flower slipped into one of the button-holes on her dress.

The identity of this woman is not certain; however, the initials ‘EJC’ are inscribed on the reverse of the photograph and possibly refer to Edith Julia Clendon. Edith was born on 20 July 1860 and was the daughter of Captain James Reddy and Jane Takotowi Clendon (nee Cochrane). She grew up at Clendon House, located in Rawene (previously known as Herd’s Point) in the Hokianga region. Edith had seven brothers and sisters as well as six older step-siblings from her father’s first marriage. The younger Clendon children were taught by a governess, Mrs Bennett, whom they shared with the children of Spencer von Sturmer, a local resident magistrate. Their school was an attic room under the gables of Clendon House.

Sadly, Edith died on 26 July 1877, at the age of 17 years.

During the Victorian era, cartes de visite were incredibly popular due to their inexpensiveness and reproducibility, and were taken primarily for distribution to friends and family. This was especially important in colonial societies, such as New Zealand, because cartes de visite enabled families to maintain an emotional connection with friends and family living overseas. Sometimes the emotional connections fostered by cartes de visite had tragic overtones as people used images of their deceased loved ones as grieving tools. (1)

(1) Geoffrey Batchen, ‘Dream of Ordinary Life: Cartes de visite and the bourgeois imagination,’ in Photography: Theoretical snapshots, edited by J. J. Long, Andrea Novel and Edward Welch (London: Routledge, 2009).

For more information about the Clendon family and Clendon House, which is cared for by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, visit our website.

Medium and Materials

Paper

Measurements

8.4 x 6.5cm

Subject and Association Keywords

Girlhood

Credit Line

Collection of Clendon House, Heritage New Zealand Historic Pouhere Taonga

Object Type

Carte de visite

Object number

XCH.1505

Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

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