Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Vintage photo: Mabel Lucie Attwell

I am really very excited by this photo and jumped at the chance to buy it when it came earlier today. It's a photo of the twentieth century children's illustrator Mabel Lucie Attwell. There are many reasons why I rate this item.

The photo is a silver print by Elliott and Fry in London. It measures aprox. 8" x 6" and is tipped onto a larger sheet of paper which is embossed with Elliott and Fry's logo as well as having a printed 'signature'. Attwell is very well collected still today and it is likely that a lot of people would like to own this. On top of which, it seems on first perusal, that photos of Attwell are not common. There appear to be only two which have made their way onto the internet before now.

Above all I think this is just an amazing portrait. There is a directness and even sternness of gaze from Attwell which, in some ways, seems to be at odds with the flamboyance of her clothing, the stripes of that skirt for example are all beaded. And yet the clothing is so completely of the period. She really does appear as a very self-contained and confident woman. This is no ordinary studio 'snap' but a real and revealing portrait.
My apologies for watermarking the image, I don't normally like doing this but it seemed appropriate in this case.

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