However, this group portrait was not taken in Derby. The bottom margin of the front of the card mount is printed with "E.R. Gyde, Aberystwyth," suggesting that he was operating from the Welsh studio at this time. An examination of the photograph itself shows a large group of men, women and children, arranged rather haphazardly on and in front of a rock face, characterised by well defined, tilted strata. Many of the children have buckets and spades, which strongly suggests that they are at the beach. The style of dresses worn by the adult female members of the party, with leg of mutton sleeves, dates this photo to some time in the 1890s.
Since Gyde's studio at 20 Pier Street, Aberystwyth was close to the waterfront, I thought it possible that the photograph might have been taken not far away. The location and distinctive rock formations providing a backdrop offered a good starting point to search. I used the web site geograph, a project which "aims to collect geographically representative photographs and information for every square kilometre of Great Britain and Ireland," and is doing a pretty good job, at least for some areas. I used the search page to look for "beach" near "Aberystwyth," which resulted in 80 images. Browsing through these, I hit paydirt on the second page with this excellent photograph entitled, "Tilted Rock Strata," taken by Bob Jones in March 2008.
© Copyright Bob Jones and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
The rock face is located at the northern end of the beach and promenade immediately north of Aberystwyth town centre, below Constitution Hill. The hard bands of lighter coloured rock appear to be almost identical to those visible in Gyde's portrait taken over a century earlier. According to my copy of the Geological Map of Great Britain, Sheet 2 : England & Wales (2nd Edition, 1957, prepared by the Geological Survey & publ. Ordnance Survey), this area is underlain by grits and mudstones of the Tarannon and Llandovery Formations of Silurian age. The location of both Gyde's studio and the old photo are also shown in the Google Maps image below.
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Locations of E.R. Gyde's studio at 20 Pier Street,
and the group photograph shown above