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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Victorian Women & Their Bling: Sophia

 You won't be surprised to learn that we have a little box full of photos of whom nothing is known except that we are not related.  They came down the Lucas side of the family from Alvah Burns who married in through Belle Lucas (our great-grand aunt). The couple was childless together but I think Alvah did have  children.  Though just yesterday I was saying divorce was unheard of back in the day, the fact is Alvah was divorced and I think even his parents were too because I have letters that suggest it.  The result of these altered branches is now my shoebox of someone else's ancestral photos--mostly women.

I've decided to acknowledge these forgotten women by sharing their photos and discussing their styles.  I begin with Sophia (not her real name to my knowledge). But doesn't it suit?

Sophia strikes me as Mediterranean in her style and coloring.  Just another war widow or simply staunchly religious--it's hard to tell?  Her accessorizing sends a few different messages.  The lace in her hair echos the idea of a Catholic mantilla to me but what reinforces the idea of her religion is the size of the 4" cross around her neck.  And it's not that, the size of the chain looks like something Sid Vicious would have worn in the heyday of Punk Rock.  She's not planning on losing her religion anytime soon--no weak links there.  But what throws me for a loop is the ostentatious size of her earrings.  They suggest youth and a desire to be noticed.  We can't know the color for certain but the stones look jet to me and could mean mourning except, again, the size is crazy for mourning.  Her dress is not very stylish and I'm thinking the ruffle around her neck is detachable and can be used on any frock.

How old do you think she is? My guess is 40 at most but with a hard last 5.  I wonder why she chose to get this photograph?  "Hey world, I'm here"?

Lace comb or pseudo mantilla?

Look at the size of that chain!

As compared to the style worn by Sid I right?

 Despite her Victorian seriousness, this woman is not yet old. Sophia is sad and beautiful. I can see her smiling though--just after the photo is snapped and she is free to relax her pose.

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