Photo Friday: Mary Padfield and her sisters

Mary Padfield and her sisters.
Mary Padfield (second from left) and her sisters.

I love this photograph of my great-grandmother Mary Padfield (2nd from left) and her sisters. The only other sister that can be confidently identified is Marguet, the youngest, in the centre. However, later photos of Catherine, the eldest sister, lead me to believe that she is second from the right. The photo is undated, but was likely taken around 1900 which would make Marguet 15 years old, Mary 27, and Catherine 28.

Of the five sisters, only two (on the far right) seem to be looking in the same direction. At a time when ‘candid’ photographs were rare, it strikes me as odd (and refreshing) that the sisters would intentionally be looking off in all directions. ¬†You can almost detect personalities in their gazes. The sister on the far left (possibly Sarah) appears confident; not afraid to look directly at the camera. Mary has a certain intensity about her, but also a hint of a smirk. Marguet appears shy, looking downwards not wanting to draw attention to herself. Catherine, while bearing the confidence of the eldest, seems quiet and demure. The last sister (Jane?) is the least expressive.but has a certain studiousness about her, perhaps invoked by the glasses.

As an amateur photographer and amateur genealogist, this photo is just fascinating.


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